FROM THE LIBRARY OF REV. LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, D. D. BEQUEATHED BY HIM TO THE LIBRARY OF PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY sc6 Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013 http://archive.org/details/vihecyOOburn THE V^ VISION OF PROPHECY, OTHER POEMS. JAMES D. BURNS, M.A. EDINBURGH : JOHNSTONE & HUNTEE. M.DCCC.LIV. EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY JOHNSTONE AND HUNTER, HIGH STREET. No laurel leaves, no sweet unfading flowers, Bloom in the garland of these simple lines ; They are but rushes woven in random hours, Like those some lonely shepherd-boy entwines : The while his fingers plait the scentless wreath, He finds some pleasure in his idle skill ; At even, he leaves it withering on the heath, Or strews its fragments on the moorland rill. CONTENTS. THE VISION OF PROPHECY THE CAVE OF MACHPELAH THE BURIAL OF JACOB ICHABOD THE VISION FROM THE MOUNT THE MIRACLES OF THE SAVIOUR SONNET — PRESENTIMENT . SONNET — PROVIDENCE THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA, THE WIFE OF THE VINE OF NOAH : A HEBREW LEGEND . THE TEMPLE OF SAIS THE PILGRIMS : AN APOLOGUE THE ABBOT AND FOOL THE BIRD AND THE BEE . THE PEASANT AND THE POET TO WORDSWORTH THOUGHT ON A ROSE SONNET — IMAGINATION . THE VESPER HOUR . 21 27 36 40 47 56 57 58 70 73 75 84 86 88 96 118 119 120 VI CONTEXTS. PROVIDENCE MOONLIGHT A NIGHT REVERIE LINES TO A STAR lines — alexander weeping the flower and oak- shoot the petrel sequel to the foregoing timoleon : a greek story of : stratonice attila at aquileia mohammed at damascus the prince and the widow BAALBEK THE RUINED CHAPEL LINES WRITTEN IN A FRANCISCAN CONVENT THE JARDIM DE SERRA THE VILLAGE FESTIVAL THE CHARCOAL-BURNERS . SONNET — A VINTAGE SKETCH SONNET — EVENING PICTURE PORTO SANTO . THE GOLD-SEEKER'S SONG RHYMES OF A VIGIL . SONNET .... A FANCY CLAVr.RHOUSE . THE PICTURE OF A MARTYRDOM THE GRAVE OF DODDRIDGE AT LISBON CONTENTS. RUINS OF CARTEIA .... THE BAY OF BARCELONA . CORTONA ...... INCISA ...... DISCOVERY OF THE NORTH-WEST PASSAGE MY FIRST BIRTHDAY IN A FOREIGN LAND THE DIAL AND FOUNTAIN . TO A FRIEND IN THE MINISTRY SONNET .... BOAZ AND THE REAPERS . A REMEMBRANCE A PARABLE-MIRACLE HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS \ — "O THOU! WHOSE TENDER FEET HAVE TROD" "WE SADLY WATCHED THE CLOSE OF ALL" "YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM" "O, IN THE DARK AND STORMY NIGHT" " THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE FLOCK" SABBATH EVENING .... "LET NOT YOUR HEART BE troubled" TRUTH "FAITH WORKETH BY love" A REQUIEM THE DEATH OF A BELIEVER A THOUGHT AT EVENING . " THE LIGHT THAT LED ASTRAA'" "ALL SAINTED SOULS, LORD, ARE THE CHORDS" THE DEATH OF AN INFANT Vlll CONTEXTS. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS— CONTINUED : A THOUGHT OX TIME . LINES HUMILITY .... TO A CHRISTIAN FRIEND . " HE ARIDETH FAITHFUL" . RECOVERY FROM SICKNESS THE SINNER'S HOPE . "NOT, LORD ! UNTO THAT MOUNT OF DREAD" TO A FRIEND DEPARTED MEMORIAL LINES SONNET — FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE AT THE SEPULCHRE "THOUGH LONG THE WANDERER MAY DEPART" . ATLANTIS : — PART I PART II NOTES TO ATLANTIS 253 254 255 25S 260 262 264 266 268 270 272 273 277 288 299 THE VISION OF PEOPHECY. ARGUMENT. The destinies of the world controlled by the Spirit of God, and announced by Him to man directly, or through the Hebrew Prophets (i.) — First announcement of a Eedeemer coeval with the Fall (n.) — Clearer revelations made in after-times to the same effect : this the crowning theme, or " spirit of Prophecy" (in.-v.) — The fortunes of the Jewish people particularly fore- told and verified (vi.-viii.) — Those also of the descendants of Ishmael (IX.) — Prophecy verified in the overthrow and degra- dation of ancient empires and cities : Xineveh, Babylon, Tyre, and Egypt (x.-xn.) — In the succession of the four empires of the Old World (xiii.) — In the rise of the Antichristian power (xiv.) — Its calls to guilty nations, and threat enings of retri- bution (xv., xvi.) — The final triumph of a kingdom of right- eousness and peace (xvir.) I. O'er earth's tumultuous changes A Spirit rules, and guides the course of Time ; High vaulted o'er the stars' aerial ranges A temple towers, and from that height sublime B 10 THE VISION OF PROPHECY. A voice oracular hath sounded clear ; Of old the generations heard, In hymns of hope, or chants of fear, Heaven's challenge to the world's regard Ee-echoed from the Hebrew lyre, — Deep intonations of the priest Whose lips had felt the purging touch of fire. That sacred music rings from age to age, Its ancient virtue hath not ceased : The prophets are not ; but the Holy Page Is through all time the mystic truth revealing, — The Word is to the World appealing. ii. Thou, Everlasting Spirit ! Who on the weltering deep didst move, and call From darkness this fair world which we inherit, Hast fixed Thine eye upon it throughout all The restless movement of its onward way. Thou didst forecast its horoscope, And, in its springing woes, allay Its terror with Thy voice of hope. When man unlinked the golden chain From which earth hung insphered with Heaven, And wept to see the primal glory wane, Thy voice was heard from out the darkened skies : A vision blest by Thee was given, A glimpse of dim-foreshadowed destinies; — THE VISION OF PROPHECY. 11 Thou didst, even then, the trembling hope awaken, That he was not cast forth forsaken. in. Far down the thronging ages The vision of a better time appears ; It slowly brightens out of dim presages, And takes corporeal shape through lapse of years. With gladness then the wandering patriarchs saw A far-off Coming bless the earth ; In Syrian tents they watched with awe The unfolding mystery of His birth. Then Zion's consecrated shrine Became an oracle ; and there, In daily sacrifice, and type, and sign, The great Redemption and its issues grave Were mirrored to the worshipper. To every temple-rite that Spirit gave Its sacred sense. His voice of hope to mortals Was issuing through the guarded portals. IV. How clear the strains which sounded From ravishing harps, touched with no earthly skill ! Though then the compass of their notes was bounded, The unutterable burden lingers still. Sweet from the holy mountain, temple-crowned, The heaven-breathed hymn stole up the air ; 12 THE VISION OF PROPHECY. While surges of harmonious sound, From cymbal, trump, and dulcimer, In solemn undulations rolled Around the pillared courts at even, — High chants, in which the minstrel-king foretold The peaceful glories of a sinless reign ; Or in the stately cadence given To rapt Isaiah's deep and passioned strain. Hark ! how the jubilant song swells ever clearer As Earth beholds its Saviour nearer. v. He was thy theme of glory, Prophecy ! He fixed thine eye from far : His was the name that faltered through thy story,- His was thy Sceptre, — His thy Eastern Star ! With joy didst thou behold the heavenly Child In Bethlehem born in lowly guise, And the meek mother, undefiled, Droop over Him her dove-like eyes ; Thou didst behold the sorrowing Man, — Didst follow Him through want and woe, — Wast His first mourner, for thine eye outran The passage of His days, and wept to see Afar the sinless Sufferer bow His bleeding temples on the bitter tree. Thou, too, didst first proclaim Salvation Through that divine and dread Oblation. THE VISION OF PROPHECY. 13 VI. By thy high sanctions guarded, The father of the faithful held his hope ; Thy sacred voice his steady trust rewarded, What time he stood beneath Heaven's cloudless cope And, in the starry troops that filled the skies, And round its azure limits stood, Beheld his own proud destinies, — The innumerable multitude That should arise, and call him blest. Thou didst the chosen people guide, And cheer the weary tribes with hopes of rest, When wandering on through deserts, faint and slow, — Under thy covering shadow hide Their tents from harm ; in cloud and flame didst move Before their armies, till, in Canaan's borders, They settled in their peaceful orders. VII. Fair vision ! but soon blighted, When altars rose to Ashtaroth and Baal, And then thy voice, the voice of Him they slighted, Arose in mournful and indignant wail : Lo ! as it rose their weakened tribes were driven Before the foes they once had quelled ; Their lock of strength was shorn, and Heaven The alliance of its stars withheld ; 14 THE VISION OF PROPHECY. From king to king, from age to age, The inveterate spirit lives and spreads ; And deeper grew thy voice of sad presage, And darker gathered thy avenging cloud, Till on their bold defiant heads The levin bolt is loosed, and rattles loud ; Their cities fall, their tribes are rent asunder, To be the world's undying wonder. VIII. Far through the nations scattered, Thy shadow tracks the wandering Hebrew still ; Each, like the loose stones of some temple shattered By lightning on an overlooking hill, Carries upon his front the fated brand. Behold him, as he walks apart, A dweller in some western land, — A trafficker in every mart, Distinguished in the crowd from each. Their fatherland is his by birth, He breathes the accents of their mother-speech ; Yet in his features view the deep-struck seal That stamps the race forlorn on earth. So through a lake a separate stream may steal, Work onwards with a constant calm endeavour Through it, but mingle with it never. THE VISION OF PROPHECY. 15 IX. Thy power in desert places, Where, by the palm, the Arab plants his lance, Is felt ; it filled them with these wandering races, Loose-settled in a wide inheritance. When Sarah's toil-worn fugitive her child Beneath the shrubs laid down to die, A voice, of fortunes strange and wild, Spoke trumpet-like from out the sky : Twelve princes from the outcast sprung, And trained their tribes to ruthless war. Untameable as eagles, they have flung Each yoke aside to which the nations bowed, And o'er their ranks a bloody star Hath shone auspicious, through the battle-cloud. Above their tents, in the low deserts lying, Thy voice, Prophecy ! is crying. x. On many a mound of ruin Thy dark-stoled phantom sits, and ever sings Of guilty glory, and its sure undoing. Speak, ye who opened Nineveh's Hall of Kings ! — Ye who have passed by Nimroud's mound ! For ye have seen her : ye can tell How on you, as ye looked around, The mystery of her presence fell. 16 THE VISION OF PROPHECY. Long hath thy shadow lingered there ; Thou, on that night of fear and blood, "When old Euphrates saw his channels bare, Didst move before the Persian, as his guide, Up the dark hollows of the flood, And blew the summoning trumpet at his side ; The worshipper of fire, by thee anointed, Wrought to an issue pre-appointed. XI. Where Tyre once saw the splendour Of marble structures mirrored in her bay, And snow-white temples in the sunshine render More dazzling radiance to the light of day, The waves break mournfully o'er broken piles, Thy voice breathes from them like a dirge. When Macedon's far-glittering files Begirt her ramparts, thou didst urge Their captain to his dread commission ; He, as a sword in the hand of God, Struck higher than the mark of his ambition ; — She falls, revives, decays, till wasting years Have blown her very dust abroad. The unconscious fisher on her shell-grown piers Spreads out his nets ; and, from afar beholding, Men mark thy roll of woes unfolding. THE VISION OF PROPHECY. 17 i XII. What memories round thee cluster, Egypt ! from the dim depths of the past: Art from thy temples once diffused its lustre, And round thee Science mystic influence cast. Eldest of kingdoms, and the proudest long, Alas, how sunken art thou now ! Vengeance on thee hath laid her strong, Her iron hand, and brought thee low. The ancient doom still works in thee, Fore-uttered in thy day of fame, " Basest of kingdoms, Egypt, thou shalt be!" A race of slaves has stolen to Pharaoh's throne, — Thou art not dead, but this thy shame Is worse than death. "We sadly look upon Thy mummied features, and thy Pyramids hoary, The head-stones of a grave of glory. XIII. While the crowned Chaldean slumbered, Thou didst undrape to him thy fateful glass, Prophetic Spirit ! there distinctly numbered, He saw with fear four sceptred phantoms pass. Xo Daniel need come shrouded from the dead To expound the vision now to men, In Time's fulfilling li^ht we read The destinies so darkened then. 18 THE VISION OF PROPHECY. Four mighty empires did expand Their cloudy wings: the mystic stone, Hewn from the mountain by no visible hand, Hath struck their towering pride, and laid it low. The broad foundations of a throne That shakes not are now laid ; one final blow, And Antichrist, with his usurping Prophet, Is hurled into the kindling Tophet. XIV. The mitred Man Apostate Sits in the seven-hilled city's princely chair; He long hath worn the purple, long hath boasted That favouring Heaven hath crowned, and kept him there ; With saintly blood his scarlet vestments shine; He holds a sorcerer's cup, and deep The nations of the enchanted wine Have drunk, and sunken into sleep. The souls beneath the altar cry For vengeance, and the saints oppressed On earth to the importunate call reply. Even now impends thy doom, proud Babylon ! Thy vassal kingdoms of the West Will rise in wrath, and hurl thee from thy throne. Soon will the sceptre of thy state be broken, — The irrevocable word is spoken. THE VISION OF PROPHECY. 19 XV. In accents wild and mournful, Thy voice entreats a fallen world to rise, Prophecy ! Infatuate and scornful, It recks not of its awful destinies ; The oppressor under thy uplifted rod Still waves his reddening scourge of guilt, Still murmurs in the ear of God The cry of blood by brothers spilt ; The generations groan with woe; With giant stride Vice walks the earth, And Evil spreads in darker, deadlier flow, A deluge more appalling than of old ; And Pleasure revels loud, and Mirth Entwines her rose-wreath ; Avarice, for gold, Leads forth her pilgrims over seas and mountains, And Gain still thirsts for fresher fountains. xvi. With lurid splendour glowing, Thy cyphers stand on the world's girdling wall, But no Belshazzar on the siorn is thro win 2; A fearful eye, or lets the wine-cup fall ; Unheeded are the few interpreters "Who, lifting faithful voices loud, Expound the cryptic characters, Amidst the riot of the crowd ; — 20 THE VISION OF PROPHECY. But, ye kings! in time be wise! — Ye nations ! hear the dread command, — Awake from sensual slumber, ere the skies Are cloven, and the strong all- shattering blast Proclaims the reckoning at hand, And the long day of visitation past. Unmoved ye hear the summons to repentance, — Unpitied must ye bide the sentence. XVII. Even now thy latest vision, Thy loveliest, brightens through the mists of Time. The day-spring breaks, — a purple light Elysian Through the clear ether gladdens every clime. The idols fall unsceptred from their thrones ; Hushed is the stormy trump of War, — Its pageantry is past, its groans, And the loud crashing of its car ; The choral song of gladness swells From Arctic lands and Austral isles ; Peace, like an undeparting angel, dwells On earth, and Rachel's wail is heard no more ; Hope sweetly sheds her rainbow smiles ; Salvation lifts the cross on every shore. Come, then, Lord Jesus! all creation groaneth, — Thy bride her absent Spouse bemoaneth! THE CAYE OF MACIIPELAII. 21 THE CAVE OF MACHPELAH. Beneath the stately Pyramids of old Cheops might bury his imperial bones, And all his sons, in fragrant cerements rolled, Crowd the dark vaults with royal skeletons ; As if a king required an ampler space To sleep in than the rabble of the race. That wonder of the elder world, the pile By faithful Artemisia sadly raised To her loved Carian, hoping to beguile A life-long grief, might merit to be praised : A dome, the memory of whose antique fame Has given each sumptuous sepulchre a name. But thou, Judean sepulchre and cave! By no such hands wast hewn, nor wert thou decked With fluted column, frieze, and architrave, Elaborate sculpture of the architect! Yet at the thought of thee my bosom swells, And oft beside thee mournful memory dwells. 22 THE CAVE OF MACHPELAH. I see where, in the depth of pastoral hills, An Eastern city lies, and near the gates The solemn grove that shades thee, — Fancy fills The interspace with forms which it creates; And all thy dead, before my dreamy eyes, In long and shadowy procession rise. My mind recalls thee on that doleful day, When from his place, beside his Sarah's bier, The patriarch rose, and calmed his passion's sway, — While all the dark-robed Hittites gathered near, — And courteously entreated for his dead A sepulchre, and bowed his reverend head. The children of the land with grief were touched, And Ephron with mild dignity arose ; Quick to the generous impulse, he avouched His wish to yield him freely what he chose. Then in thy empty vault he sought the right To bury his beloved from his sight. Strange that the first inheritance he owned In all the breadth of Canaan was a grave, And a few roods around ; that the sole bond Or charter God, through years of trial, gave To him whose seed was Canaan's later heir, Was that by which he claimed a sepulchre ! THE CAVE OF MACIIPELAII. 23 It seemed a slender and a mournful tie From which to hang so much ; but that old faith Sought not a stronger pledge ; yea, could rely Through life on the bare promise, and in death ; Brought future hopes within the sphere of sense, And gave the unseen a present evidence. No patriarch had a home : the grassy dells, In which his sheep and camels browse to-day, To-morrow are deserted, and their wells Forsaken ; the long line resumed its way Once more, and in perpetual pilgrimage They passed their lives from infancy to age. This sepulchre was all their home ; no force Could seize it, no disquietude molest ; They filled its vacant vaults till in the course Of their succession each contained its guest ; And thus in resting from life's fevered toil, Each with his dust took seisin of the soil. So, too, it seemed each hoary-headed sire, When slow-paced Age with its infirmities Sounded Death's soft alarum, would retire To this lone spot ; the while from his old eyes The world was fading, calmly to prepare For its approach, in thought fulness and prayer. 24 THE CAVE OF MACHPELAH. Under the shadow of these murmuring trees, While vigour fails and outward sight grows dim, Each gathers up his thoughts, and by degrees Beholds Heaven's portals opening for him, — Feels his transfiguration near at hand, And treads the borders of the silent land. blessed close of lives outworn with toils And wanderings ! sacred time of rest ! These holy hours when God himself assoils The soul about to mingle with the blest : Evening of preparation, calm and clear, For the eternal Sabbath now so near : A tranquil eve that shuts a stormy day, When westering clouds are drenched with dews of gold, And crimson mists steam upwards, and we say, The morrow will serener skies unfold, — And all the stainless body of heaven is bare, And quivering stars glance through the azure air. The Eden of their earth lay all around Machpelah ; there God came down in the cool Of even to walk with them, and all the ground Was therefore holy — therefore beautiful; And their free spirits panted for the time When they would soar to an unwithering clime. THE CAVE OF MACHPELAII. 25 To them it ceased to be a place of death ; It was the porch within whose solemn glooms They stood till the temple opened ; the sweet breath Of heaven here soothed their hearts; the lovely blooms Of that fair land refreshed their drooping eyes ; And glimpses came to them from other skies. As mariners, long driven through unknown seas By stress of tempest, if, when steering on, Or ever land appear, the evening breeze Blow faint with sandal- wood or cinnamon, Look out for the blue haze of spicy isles, And trim their sails, and no more grudge their toils ; These weary voyagers here drew to shores Bathed in eternal sunshine, and the past Was all forgotten as the surge that roars Beyond the reef ; in this still bay they cast Their anchor ; watched the waves glide up the sand, And wondered at the beauty of the land. Around that cherished sepulchre they died, Heirs of a vault, — lords only of a grave; And after all is he who looks with pride Upon his ample lands, whose forests wave On hills unseen from his baronial door, The absolute lord and master of much more ? C 26 THE CAVE OF MACHPELAH. The lands that may descend from sire to son Are not inalienable : Time or Chance, Proud lord ! may challenge what thou call'st thine own , And wrest from thee the old inheritance; — Thou art a tenant at God's will, — thy lease May run out long before thine own decease. But thou hast a Machpelah ; this is thine, And this alone; thou art the absolute Possessor of a sepulchre or shrine To lay thy bones in, — none will dare dispute Thy right to rest there, till the knell of doom Shall startle even the silence of the tomb. No force shall wrest, no time shall alienate This sure possession from thy coming heirs: Contract thy mind into this small estate, And give thy soul to nobler thoughts and cares ; Thus thou shalt plant a garden round the tomb, ^Yhere golden hopes may flower, and fruits immortal bloom. THE BURIAL OF JACOB. 27 THE BURIAL OF JACOB. i. It is a solemn cavalcade, and slow, That comes from Egypt ; never had the land, Save when a Pharaoh died, such pomp of woe Beheld ; never was bier by such a band Of princely mourners followed, and the grand Gloom of that strange funereal armament Saddened the wondering cities as it went. ii. In Goshen he had died, that region fair Which stretches east from Nilus to the wave Of the great Gulf; and since lie could not bear To lay his ashes in an alien grave, He charged his sons to bear them to the cave Where rested all his kin, that from life's cares And weariness his dust might rest with theirs. in. So when the best embalmers for the bier Had drest him, — in the pungent nitre laid 28 THE BURIAL OF JACOB. The body, and with galbanum, and myrrh, And cedar-oil, a costly unguent made, And in a spikenard-dripping shroud arrayed The limbs ne'er delicately clad till now, — The Twelve assembled to fulfil their vow. IV. For seventy days through Egypt ran the cry Of woe, for Joseph wept ; and now there came Along with him the rank and chivalry Of Pharaoh's court, — the choice of Egypt's fame ;- High captains, chief estates, and lords of name, The prince, the priest, the warrior, and the sage, Made haste to join in that sad pilgrimage. v. By the green borders of the reedy Nile, Where wades the ibis, and the lotus droops, The armed horsemen ride in glittering file To Goshen, swarthy chieftains with their troops Of vassals from the Thebaid, gathering groups Of pilgrims from the populous towns, whose vast And massy piles loomed o'er them as they passed. VI. The hoary elders in their robes of state Were there, and sceptred judges ; and the sight Of their pavilions pitched without the gate THE BURIAL OF JACOB. 29 Was pleasant ; chariots with their trappings bright Stood round, — till all were met, and every rite Was paid ; — then at a signal the array Moved with a heavy splendour on its way. VII. Its very gloom was gorgeous, and the so.und Of brazen chariots, and the regular feet Of stately pacing steeds upon the ground, Seemed by its dead and dull monotonous beat A burden to that march of sorrow meet ; With music Pharaoh's minstrels would have come Had Joseph wished, — 'twas better they were dumb. VIII. In a long line the sable draperies waved Far backward from the bier, — and as they go, The people of the cities he had saved Look from their walls, afflicted witli his woe, And watch the pageant as it winds below, — And prayers arose for him, and tears were shed, And blessings called from Heaven upon his head. IX. They pass by many a town then famed or feared, But quite forgotten now, — and over ground Then waste, on which in after time were reared Cities whose names were of familiar sound 30 THE BURIAL OF JACOB. For centuries, — Bubastus, and renowned Pelusium, whose dust now forms the soil, And gorges the lean wilderness with spoil. x. Now in their eastward march the waste expands In front, and faring wearily they reach That dread Serbonian lake amidst the sands : Oh, many are the bones which yet shall bleach Amidst the rushes of that deadly beach, — Many the warriors who shall find a grave In the false shallows of that perilous wave ! XI. For many a dreary league the treacherous swamp Still lengthens on the left ; the loose-blown sand Beneath their steps, the vapours breathing damp From the green marsh, annoy the straggling band ; But Joseph's thoughts none there may understand,— His mind recalls the time when through this wild The merchants bore the unresisting child. XII. The way that then was watered with his tears Is wet with them again ; the tender thought Of his fond father and his boyish years Before his eye the hills of Canaan brought, — He saw his childhood's tents, and many a spot THE BURIAL OF JACOB. 31 Where oft, at eve, a visionary boy, He wandered on in innocence and joy. XIII. Alas ! they were but dreams, — the sense returns Of grief, and death, and vacancy ; he still Is in the desert, — the fierce sunlight burns On the white parching sands, — the hot winds fill The hazy tingling air with dust, until A drowsy languor creeps through every limb, And mocking images at distance swim. XIV. But when the sun set, and the fall of dew Had cooled the air, and the clear vault of heaven Darkened into a deep transparent blue Fretted with quivering stars, and the still even Brought on the sweetest time to mortals riven, Their toils were all forgotten, and the hour Refreshed their spirits with its gentle power. xv. Oft would they, in that season hushed and cool, March after resting through the sultry day ; While on the unmoving trees beside the pool, Or bubbling spring, the shadowy moonlight lay, — The clear stars guided them upon their way ; 32 THE BURIAL OF JACOB. And, ruddy, in the van, a signal light Burned, cresset-like, through all the hours of night. XVI. The roving sons of Ishmael, as they scour The wilderness of Paran with their hordes, Behold them from afar, but fear their power ; There first against mankind they drew their swords In open warfare, and, as native lords Of the free desert, couched the Arab spear Against the trader and the traveller. XVII. But unmolested now the mourners pass, Till distant trees, like signs of land, appear, And pleasantly they feel the yielding grass Beneath their feet, and in the morning clear They see with joy the hills of Canaan near ; The camels scent the freshness of the wells, Far hidden in the depth of leafy dells. XVIII. Delicious to the weary pilgrim's eye, Long dazzled by the sun's unclouded glare, Was the first glimpse of Canaan and its sky, — Sweet every wind that fanned them, — passing fair Yale, mount, and champaign ; delicate the air THE BURIAL OF JACOB. 33 That breathed from leafy brake, and dark brown wood, Untroubled in its ancient solitude. XIX. And now, emerging from the hills which keep Their watch about the chosen border, they Traverse the plains where oft the patriarch's sheep Had pastured ; all around deep silence lay, Save when from the walled towns at close of day A barbarous music came, and fiendish cries, Round the blue flames of Moloch's sacrifice. xx. At length they reach a lonely mansion, where, Within a spacious courtyard, and the sweep Of wide and airy granaries, they prepare The solemn closing obsequies to keep ; For an appointed time they rest, and weep With ceaseless lamentation, and the land Rings with a grief it cannot understand.* XXI. Tradition long kept memory of the place Where the Egyptians met, and told how great * "And they came to the thrashing-floor of Atad, which is be- yond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation : and he made a mourning for his father seven days." —Gen. l. 10. 34 THE BURIAL OF JACOB. Had been the weeping, — how the ample space Was crowded with the mourners, — how their state Showed there were princes there, — how round the gate The ranked chariots stood, and horses neighed, And swarthy warriors loitered in the shade. XXII. The rites thus duly paid, they onward went Across the eastern hills, and rested not Till, slowly winding up the last ascent, They see the walls of Hebron, and the spot To him they bore, so dear and unforgot, Where the dark cypress and the sycamore Weave their deep shadows round the rock-hewn door. XXIII. Now Jacob rests where all his kindred are, — The exile from the land in which of old His fathers lived and died, he comes from far To mix his ashes with their sacred mould. There where he stood with Esau, in the cold Dim passage of the vault, with holy trust His sons lay down the venerable dust. XXIV. They laid him close by Leah, where she sleeps Far from her Syrian home, and never knows THE BURIAL OF JACOB. 35 That Reuben kneels beside her feet and weeps, Nor glance of kindly recognition throws Upon her stately sons from that repose ; His Rachel rests far-sundered from his side, Upon the way to Bethlehem, where she died. xxv. Sleep on, weary saint ! thy bed is bless'd, Thou,* with the pilgrim-staff of faith, hast passed Another Jordan into endless rest : Well may they sleep who can serenely cast A look behind, while darkness closes fast Upon their path, and breathe thy parting word, " For Thy salvation I have waited, Lord ! " XXVI. Long years will pass away, ere once again Thy silence, Machpelah ! shall be stirred ; The boughs will spread unpruned, and mosses stain The ancient stones where sings the lonesome bird ; And then as saintly dust will be interred Within thy vaults once more, and rites be paid As solemn underneath thy hoary shade. * " With my staff I passed over this Jordan."— Gen. xxxii. 10. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for Thou art with me ; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."— Ps. xxm. 4. 36 ICHABOD. ICHABOD. " She named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed."- 1 Sam. iv. 21. Most hapless child ! to thee the gate of life Death has unbarred. — strange keeper of the door ! And thine eyes open on this scene of strife, As thy faint mother's close for evermore. What is thy world but one vast sable room, With shields sepulchral hanging round its gloom ? Thy mother meek had sorrow in thy birth, Which never vanished in redeeming joy ; Thy natal hour awoke no festal mirth, And heard no joyous greetings, wretched boy ! Thy father lay upon his bloody bier, And how could she who loved him linger here ? What time thou earnest hither, didst thou not, Upon the border of that dolorous bourne, Meet them, and him thy grandsire ? Had their lot Been thine, thou surely hadst been less forlorn. Didst thou not see them walking, hand in hand, Nigh the dim portals of that shadowy land ? ICHABOD. 37 Upon thy natal day they all went thither; Thy father was the first, all bathed in blood ; Thy grandsire next ; and she, the last, did wither In the pure bloom of perfect womanhood, — That gentle lady, who had mourned their sin, Crushed in the storm which burst upon her kin, The Priest, the Warrior, and the Wife depart, And thou hast come upon the funeral eve ; But will thy coming cheer the drooping heart Of Israel ? thy poor mite of life relieve This heavy sum of slaughter, and atone For beauty and for bravery that are gone ? She whispered, clinging to the perilous edge Of life, a name wherein all omens mingle, And types of blackest doom, — a fearful pledge That God had made all ears to creep and tingle At the dread judgments that had fallen on guilt, For which no victim's life-blood might be spilt. Thy name has passed into a proverb ; thou Hast pointed many morals ; when we see Honours departing, mounting hopes laid low, And glory tarnished, we remember thee : We hear it like an echo in the aisles Of antique temples and imperial piles. 38 ICHABOD. On Grecian friezes strewn through laurel shades, On bronze corroded by Oblivion's rust, On proud Palmyra's tottering colonnades, On ruins raked and sifted into dust, On the dim vestiges of Babylon's walls, And old Assyria's marble-panelled halls, — Time's iron pen carves Iehabod ! — a name That seems the eternal language of our sighs, The spirit of all homilies on fame, The sum of immemorial elegies ; The sole immortal legend that remains To mark the site of palaces and fanes. Thy memory shall never fade, because 'Tis bound up with decay, and has the range Of an unending fate. While the deep laws Of being shall unfold themselves through Change, And old things fade and moulder, thou shalt be Too sure of mournful immortality ! It may be well that we so little know Of thy succeeding life, mysterious child ! Thy features muffled with a veil of woe, Thou art the spirit of sorrow deep and wild, And all thy story may be thus comprised, — Most strangely born, most mournfully baptized. ICIIABOD. 39 May the dark riddle of thy life be read In this thy baptism of tears and blood ? Was thine a blighted beinsr ? Did men dread The quick infection of thy neighbourhood ? Or, as might chance, did days of thoughtless mirth Defy the dismal auguries of thy birth ? Or didst thou, in unconscious sympathy, Die with thy kindred on thy natal night ? And born and named so sadly, didst thou sigh Thy breath away, or sicken at the light, And only leave the darkness of one womb, To creep into another, — the dark tomb ? I well believe this was thy happier fate, And that the dewy eyes of the next morn Saw a sad pomp emerging from the gate Of Shiloh : on one bier three bodies borne, — The grandsire, and the mother, and the child ; All blighted, — stem, and branch, and blossom undeflled. 40 THE VISION FROM THE MOUNT. THE VISION FROM THE MOUNT. " Again, the devil taketh hira up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them."— St Matthew iv. 8. Alone, beneath the vaulted sky, And side by side they stood, Where rose a mountain-peak in high And awful solitude, — One with his cold bright eye of guile, And on his lips a hollow smile, An aching heart within ; The other, mild, serene, and grave, With the sad look that sorrow gave . To Him that knew not sin. Strange that upon one common spot Their feet should once have trod, And Time have there together brought Man's tempter and his God ; And strange the mighty ends to tell That stirred so deeply Heaven and Hell THE VISION FROM THE MOUNT. 41 Thus face to face opposed, — The stake was man's immortal life, And this the prelude to the strife On Calvary that closed. They gazed in silence on the scene Outspreading far below, — Hill, purple grove, and valley green, All bathed in sunlight's glow ; Luxuriant plains and lonely cots Sprinkled among the pleasant spots, Where blue- veined rivers ran ; And, smoke from cities far apart, High-piled with wealth, enriched by art And noblest works of man. He gazed, who o'er earth's face had cast Even there a look of gloom, Whose withering shadow, as it passed, Reft Eden of its bloom. But for the ruin he had wrought, No pity moved a gentler thought Within that spirit dark ; And with a deadlier hate he longs The great Redresser of its wrongs To strike, — a prouder mark ! D 42 THE VISION FROM THE MOUNT. He raised his hand, and through the air A wildering vapour breathed, And fast arose a vision fair By false enchantment wreathed, — Kich masques,, and radiant phantoms, blent Within a luminous element, A shifting splendour cast, Till, from its heaped and mingling spoils, Unwinding all its glittering coils, Slow moved the pageant past. There all earth's lands and kingdoms seem Assembled as in strife, To cast a soft and witching gleam Around the pride of life ; All that could tempt the sensual eye Of wealth, and pomp, and luxury, Was bright-reflected there ; All guerdons which, on Honour's height, May tempt Ambition's loftiest flight, Tricked out the shining snare. There laurels veiled the blood that stained The trophied pride of war, And haughty Rome dragged princes chained To her imperial car. THE VISION FROM THE MOUNT. 43 And all their rifled treasuries With sumless wealth and merchandise Came brightening in her train: Barbaric pearl and diamond shone From lands far east of Babylon, And spicy Taprobane. Fair Greece unlocked her finer stores Of all immortal arts, Slow camel-files from Syria bore The spoil that chokes her marts; And Araby was there with spice, Silk, purple, many a rare device Wrought in the towns of Ind; And gums from islands flushed with blooms, And groves of balm whose far-blown fumes Enrich the evening wind. There warriors marched in gleaming arms Where Fame's loud trumpet blared, And, lured by Glory's tempting charms, All bloody perils dared, There banners waved to victory's shout, And softer instruments spoke out, And passioned minstrels sung, While princes held high festival, And on their guests the lighted hall Its gorgeous splendour flung. 44 THE VISION FROM THE MOUNT. He showed Him in a jewelled wreath All crowns that earth bestows, But not the rankling thorns beneath That pierce the wearer's brows. He showed Him every specious prize That sparkles in Ambition's eyes, But not the pale-eyed Care That in the height of honour dwells, And whispers mournful oracles Behind the curule chair. But who may trace each saddening thought That swelled the Saviour's heart, While gazing on the pageant wrought By that false spirit's art ? He, through its rich and tissued folds, The dark reality beholds, — The violence and guilt Through which these stately empires grew, And all the groans their glory drew, And all the blood it spilt. He turned his eye from royal state Beneath high-arching domes, And saw the poor and desolate Within a thousand homes ; The outcast wandering for his bread, Who had not where to lay his head, THE VISION FROM THE MOUNT. 45 Until he found the grave ; For them his tears of pity ran, And all who were despised by man His spirit yearned to save. He turned him from the empty glare That crowned Oppression wore, And saw the broken hearts of care Its heavy load that bore. He heard the withering captive's moan, The poor defrauded labourer's groan, Whose wrongs no law T redressed ; Their sorrows on his heart were borne, To all the weary and forlorn He came to offer rest. He looked, and, lo ! Sin's blighting shade Crept o'er the airy show, And from it fast the flush decayed Like evening's rosy glow; The enchanter's wand in fragments fell, . Dissolved, like mist, the subtle spell, The loaded air was cleared ; And, through the blank against the sky, Distinct and dark, low Calvary His naked cross upreared. 46 THE VISION FROM THE MOUNT. " And shall the crowns of earth," he cried, " False fiend ! have charms for me, "Wlio laid the crown of heaven aside Thy fettered slaves to free ? Away with all thy glittering dross, — My eye is full upon the cross, And speeds the fateful hour When I, the woman's seed, shall tread In death on thy discrowned head, And crush thy hated power. " Away ! thy evil star is dim, Look up and see the sign, — My knee bends never but to Him "Who is my God and thine ! Away ! and triumph for a time, But I will track thee by thy slime, Foul serpent ! and expel All evil from this groaning world, And, as before, behold thee hurled Down to the pit of hell!" THE MIRACLES OF THE SAVIOUR. THE MIBACLES OF THE SAYIOUE. Though Thou didst come into our world by night, And with no glory wrap Thyself about, Yet soon around Thy goings what a light Of beauty and of majesty broke out ! Beneath the meekness of Thy mortal guise, His God Incarnate man disdained to own, Though through the earthly veil before his eyes Some beams of the Indwelling Brightness shone. Yet Nature owned Thee, in the listening pause, The awe, and sacred stillness of the land ; She knew the step of God ; her iron laws Relaxed their ancient rigour in Thy hand. She saw, within Thy body's temple shrined, Uhsceptred Majesty for her to greet; Thy voice went through her elements like wind ; And all her realms poured tribute at Thy feet. 48 THE MIRACLES OF THE SAVIOUR. All spirits, too, here working good or ill, Felt in Earth's air the pulse of holy breath, Thine every footfall an electric thrill Sent both to Heaven above and Hell beneath. From Thy uplifted arm, and in the sound Of Thy mild voice, went forth a power divine ; Its wonders stud the Gospel-page, and round The horizon of Thy life like stars they shine. The festal wine is spent, but Thou art near, At Thy command the spring of gladness rose ; A purple shadow tints the water clear, And every lustral vessel overflows. Through summer suns and soft-distilling rains, The juices crimson in the swelling grape; But to the end which Nature slowly gains The Lord of Nature passes at a step. Charmed by mere contact with Thy naked feet, The unstable waves, though heaved by tempest, stand Congealed into a marble pavement, meet For Him who holds them in His hollowed hand. THE MIRACLES OF THE SAVIOUR. 49 Awed by Thine eye the stormy winds are still, The sea smoothes all its surges at Thy frown ; And, where Thy finger points, the fishes fill The nets which all the night hung idly down. Thou, King of Heaven, wilt honour earthly kings, And Cscsar's dues at Caesar's customs pay ; A fish to Peter's hook the stater brings, Where rusting, deep among the ooze, it lay. When crowds went with Thee to a desert place, Thou wouldst not send them faint to towns remote, But from a stripling's scanty scrip, Thy grace For all a plentiful provision brought. Thy blessing into his small loaves did pass, Thy meek dividing hands held store of bread ; The Twelve went to and fro upon the grass, Till all the ranked multitudes were fed. The wayside fig, so falsely clothed with leaves, Yields to Thy simple appetite no fruit, — The worthless tree Thy brief rebuke receives, And presently it withers from the root. How many are the ills that fret and waste, Since Sin first blighted it, this frame of man ! These owned Thy presence too, — where'er it passed, The streams of healing influence freelv ran. 50 THE MIRACLES OF THE SAVIOUR. Health, vigour, life, and joy sprung up beneath Thy steps ; Thy very shadow blessed the ground ; The tainted air waxed pure within Thy breath ; And from Thy garments virtue wandered round. The long-stopped ear flew open at Thy touch ; The palsied arm was nerved with vigour fresh ; The life-lame cripple cast aside his crutch ; And childhood's glow flushed warm in leprous flesh. The common clay was then as euphrasy, Which purged the eye in light's awakening thrill ; And fettered tongues, to thought vibrating free, Would not be silent when Thou saidst, Be still ! Heaven had its eye upon Thee from afar : It watched the course it joyed to see begun ; Thy birth was greeted by a lighted star, Thy death lamented by a darkened sun. No boding planet veiled it from the sight, The Paschal moon was broad upon the sky, When thou, O sun ! didst drape thy sacred light In sympathy with His expiring cry ! THE MIRACLES OF THE SAVIOUR. 51 II. Through that so fatal breach which Sin had made In this our citadel, Death entered too, His gloomy banner on its wall displayed, And with a tyrannous frenzy smote and slew. The strong man, armed securely, kept his hold, And feared no rival in his bloody reign ; But Thou, a mightier than the Anarch old, Didst spoil and crush him in his own domain. Thrice, ere Thine own death undermined his sway* Thou didst confront him in his lawless range ; Thrice from his stiffening grasp redeem the prey, And give him warning of the coming change. The maiden from her couch, the youth of Xain From out his shroud, and Lazarus from his cave, Rose at Thy summoning call to life again, And Death could trust no more the faithless grave. Thrice didst Thou strike, and every time enforce With greater emphasis the sounding blow, Till even corruption felt the livid corse Throb from it in life's warm returning glow. 52 THE MIRACLES OF THE SAVIOUR. The Arch-Apostate, with a true presage, Had garrisoned his earth with troops of hell, But bootless was the war he thought to wage, Where'er the shadow of Thy presence fell. The first man, under Eden's sheltering trees, He could seduce and ruin with a lie, — He met Thee fainting in the wilderness, And quailed before the glancing of Thine eye. Even where his masterdom securest seemed, He howling left the bodies he possessed ; And in the synagogues where men blasphemed, The devils raged and trembled, but confessed. Thy lifted finger struck the fiends with dread, — With keener pangs that unconsuming ire, Which kindled hell before them as they fled, On earth now scathed them with its searching fire. Thy noblest gift, alas ! was seldom sought By men so sensitive to outward ill, — The miracle Thy saving mercy wrought In the deep sphere of spirit and of will. That mercy healed the deepest wound of life, It cleansed and sweetened Nature's bitter springs, Fulfilled its want, and reconciled its strife, And raised its eye to Heaven and heavenly things. THE MIRACLES OF THE SAVIOUR. 53 The power that purified the heart from sin, That weeded out the thistles of the fall, And made all holy virtues bloom therein, — This was the greatest miracle of all. This blessed the poor Samarian by the well, — Unsealed the twin founts of the Magdalene's eyes, — Upon the late-repenting felon fell, And caught him quickly up to paradise. For Thou all works of Satan wouldst destroy, — For this Thy power made all its bright displays ; For this thou went'st in glory, not in joy, A Man of Sorrows, on our earthly ways. And all the outward wonders of Thy grace Were types of this great mystery within, — Shadowed the full redemption of our race From all the deadly branching woes of sin. Once hadst Thou seen the proud Archangel fall Like lightning from the heaven in which he shone; Now Thou didst drive him from mans spirit, all The heaven in which remains to him a throne. Yet while amazed that wondrous power I see, Which for all other woes unwearied wrought, More wondrous seems the deep humility Which for its own distress took never thought. 54 THE MIRACLES OF THE SAVIOUR. Beneath the shadow of Sin's gilded domes, Thou hadst not where, Christ ! to lay Thy head ; Thou sentest thousands joyful to their homes, From deserts where their Saviour wanted bread. Thou couldst have brought provision from the flints, But wast content our hunger to endure ; And all the sumless wealth of royal mints Was Thine, — but Thou for sinners' sakes wert poor. The rich in purple robe Thy temple trod ; But Thou the poor man's garb didst meekly wear, And daily live by trusting to the God Who feeds the wandering sparrows of the air. Thou once wert robed in purple, but in jest ; Once tasted Pilate's wine, but mixed with myrrh ; It was Thy corpse that was with linen dressed, Thy grave in which the costly spices were. Thy false apostle made his covenant good, And to the garden led the motley rout, While wondering troops of angels round Thee stood, To see Thee let him act his treachery out. And Thou, Lamb of God ! wert dragged to death, And, sinless, didst our mortal pains abide, And kept immortal strength within its sheath, While He who owned it groaned, and bled, and died. THE MIRACLES OF THE SAVIOUR. 00 Oh, crowning miracle of matchless grace. To man unknown, though acted every hour, That drew the veil across the Godhead's face, And clenched the hand upon the Godhead's power ! Though now, O Christ ! we see these signs no more,- Xo more on earth Thy mortal vision given, — I do rejoice that what thou didst before, Thou still canst do in human hearts from heaven. O work in me the mystery of Thy grace, Constrain my spirit by the might of love ! And here let me, though dimly, see Thy face, The open vision of Thy saints above ! 56 PRESENTIMENT. PEESENTIMENT. Hast thou not felt when journeying to the place Whence some fair sudden prospect greets the eye, And where the mind, with all its hopes flushed high, Seeks pleasant entertainment for a space, A strange desire to mend thy lagging pace, Which still grew stronger as it came more nigh, Till it could fret at the necessity Which bound it in the senses' strict embrace ? Such is the inward yearning of the soul Towards the vision of the Infinite, When life's long, close-drawn mists at last unroll ; This to itself makes after-being clear, It nears the summit of Time's specular height, And woos the free airs of an ampler sphere. PROVIDENCE. O 7 PEOVIDEXCE. " When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me, until I went into the sanctuary of God." — Ps. LXXIII. 16, 17. How many are the mysteries that lie Along life's winding ways, and vex the mind With restless speculation, vague and blind ! We have but glimpses of the azure sky, — The calm, the luminous Infinity, — Which doth encompass all ; as when the wind Fitfully lifts the mist, and shows behind Heaven's sapphire clearness to the watcher's eye. But where we may not trace, Prayer shall make plain The way to trust, and we shall even obtain For many a mystery solution meet, Once we have learned meekly to repair Within the sanctuary of God, and wear The marble pavement with our visiting feet. 58 THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PKOCULA* THE WIFE OF PILATE. " When he was set down on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man : for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him."— St Matthew xxyti. 19. PROEM. " Leave me a while, my child ! Ever since morn I have felt my spirit burdened, and the dread Of some impending evil haunts my mind, — A dim and shapeless terror. Thy sweet laugh, My child ! sounds as a discord, and thy voice Fatigues the ear of thy distempered mother. Go ! pluck some roses for a festal wreath, And twine them as I taught thee, for to-night * This name is employed on the authority of some early ecclesi- astical writers ; Scripture, it is needless to observe, being silent on the subject. Whether correctly applied or not is of little conse- quence ; but we feel pleasure in drawing one of whom so little is known within the sphere of a personal interest, even by so slender a link as this. THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. 59 Thy father sups with Herod. They are friends Again, — one boon we owe this Galilean. When thou art gone, perchance an hour of sleep May lighten me of these uneasy thoughts V So the fair child into the garden went With gentle footstep, and the mother slept. THE DREAM. Sleep ! what sorcery is like to thine, So subtle, so resistless ? In what grove Or garden dost thou gather the rare herbs Whose juices have such virtue, that the soul, Once tasting them, is on the instant loosed From its companionship with flesh, to range Through the w r ide universe, and every zone To traverse, swift as the electric fire? Silent the city lay in all its streets, Drowsed in the glow of noon. The sultry air Was overcharged with languor; the weak wind Was stifled in the open, shadowless ways. Faintly she hears the soft and liquid flow Of the small runnels freshening the roots Of thick-leaved platans in the garden-walks, And the cool plashing fountain in the court, And as she listens, she is calmly lulled Into a deep repose. An interval, — GO THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. How long she knows not, — but, as in old times, And with no sense of change, she seems to be Within her Eoman mansion, on the slope Of the low Esquiline, whence roams the eye Over the smiling champaign, where the links Of Tiber gleam like steel, to the white walls Of cool Praeneste, and the Alban hills, And the blue ridge of piny Algidus. Again through well-known chambers, draped and dim, She passes, — vestibules, where statues watch In breathless immortality, — wide halls, Where cedarn roofs are rough with stalactites Of fretted gold, and tessellated floors Mirror the floating movement of her robe ; — Yet on this splendour now she seems to cast A careless eye. She feels upon her heart A crushing weight of sadness. Agony Is working in the quiver of her lip. An unimagined misery, a dread Presentiment of evil, wraps her soul In gloom, and chills the hidden springs of life. So vacantly she thought she wandered on, With all her anguish in a tearless eye, Till to a little chamber she has come ; One step within it, and she stands as struck To marble. There upon a couch, she thought, Lay a sweet child, as if through weariness O'ercome by balmy slumber. But 'twas sleep THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. 01 Without a smile or sigh, — and as she lay, A heavy silence throbbed within the air, And made a swoonlike tingling in the brain, More deep, more terrible, than that of sleep. Fair seemed the little maiden resting there, — Her dark eyelashes drooping down a cheek Still lovely though unbloomiug, and her pale Seraphic beauty showed the small blue veins Upon her delicate brow. One raven tress Had fallen loose, escaping from the fillet, "Whose pearls were duskier than the brow they bound. Beside the couch the lady thought there lay A withering rose-wreath, as if newly dropped From a relaxing grasp. And in her dream She lifted it, and with a listless eye Gazed on the flowers those fingers small had woven. One rose was but a bud, — it had been plucked Too soon, — and now the red lips of its leaves Were shrunk and seared. "And faded art thou too," She thought, " my blossom, in thy opening hour, — Struck is the gracious promise of thy spring By sudden blight, — thy rifled sweetness here Lies low, nor can the sunshine nor the rain Revive it evermore!" In passionate grief She seemed to sink upon her knees, and look On those pale tranquil features, till she felt As if she envied their profound repose. 62 THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. A change came over her in this deep trance Of agony, — a vague returning dread, "Which made her spirit shrink within itself, That she was not alone. Then timidly, She thought, she raised her eyelids, and, behold, Before her, standing by the farther side Of the small couch, was One whose eye was fixed Upon her steadfastly. It was a mild And gentle look, that thrilled her heart, and seemed "Withal to soothe its pain, and in His eye A serene radiance shone, a tempered gleam, — The mingling lights of Parity and Love. Sorrow in his calm aspect seemed to veil And chasten majesty; the settled grief Of some intense endurance, meekly borne In the uplifted solitudes of thought, — No surging perturbation of the soul. As thus he looked on her, seeming to read The secret anguish that consumed her heart, The thought, she knew not how, grew slowly up, And strengthened in her, till her pulses throbbed With manifold emotion, that, beneath These simple robes, One stood, veiling in flesh His immortality, — some Son of Heaven, Whose goodness was the spirit of His power. Wherefore, it seemed to her, with all her heart Tremblingly balanced on one doubtful hope, THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. 03 Dreading a chance, so precious yet so frail, To hazard on the cast of speech, she, still Low kneeling, thus addressed Him, " On this couch She lies who was my child, — now she has died, And left me desolate ; — ! canst Thou help me ? " " The damsel is not dead/' He calmly said, " But sleepeth." — O'er her features passed a smile More like despair than sorrow. — " Then believe ! " He cried, " and doubt no more." Gently he took The maiden's hand in His, and in a low, Clear voice, He said, "Arise !" Even as He spake A change came over her, — the small pulse began To beat in her thin wrist, — the flush of life Passed swiftly o'er her cheek, a mantling bloom, Like the warm rosy light which sunset casts On mountain- snow, — a slumberous movement broke The iron spell of Death, — her reddening lips Breathed a faint sigh, — and opening her eyes, With the enquiring wonder of a long And ended dream, she named her mother's name, And smiled to see her there. But marble-pale, As in a swoon of joy, the mother now Had sunk upon the ground, and clasped the feet Of the Deliverer. " Tell me but Thy name," She cried, " that I may load it evermore With honours, and heap up with sacrifice The altars of thy Godhead ? " " Thou hast heard Of me," he said; " I am the Galilean ; 64 THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. I seek no sacrifice but one. Lay thou Thy heart upon mine altar, and adore Thy false ancestral gods, who cannot save, No more ! " There was a silence in the room, — She rose, but He had vanished as a star Before the dewy glances of the dawn ! O Sleep ! what sorcery is like to thine, — So bland, yet so prevailing ? By what art Canst thou the shadow on Life's dial move Even as thou listest ? Oft I think of thee As seated in some lone and glimmering cave, With pentagram and sigil on its walls, Where to the drowsy, never-ceasing hum Of thy revolving spindle, thou wilt draw A moment's slender thread out endlessly Into a dread eternity of thought. There at the waving of thy charmed wand Time shuts and opens, narrows and expands, As with the brazen joints and cylinders Of the Etruscan tube. Like shreds of foam On the deep current of a rapid stream, The generations pass without a sound ; We live down hoary centuries, and awake To find we have not slept one little hour. That Image vanished, but the dream went on : From the disordered elements of thought, THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. 05 As after a long interval and blank Of memory, the vision shaped itself Asniin. The mingling shadows and the forms That wavered in the ripples of the wind Settled by slow degrees as it grew calm, And were transfigured by the spirit of life. It seemed that after months had glided past, A day marked golden in the calendar Came round, when all Rome's noblest matrons went To the temple of Diana, with the pomp Of sacrifice, to laud the Latmian queen. And she was there ; her presence graced the rite, "When with a stately pace, through the broad streets, Went the religious multitude ; and ne'er, She thought, had Dian's festival been kept With equal honours, and a prouder band Of worshippers. Conspicuous in the van, It seemed to her, she walked, chosen to lead The rite by acclamation of her peers. In that patrician throng the foremost place Had fallen to her, but with an aching heart She the dread symbols to the altar bore. No pride was sparkling in her eye, no joy Of gratified ambition flushed her brow ; Her cheek was pale and sorrow-worn, her eye "Was overcast with thought, and even the smile Of the fair child beside her, whose sweet face 66 THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. Was lighted up with gladness, failed to win One sympathetic glance from her she loved. Sadly she watched the victim's trickling blood Crimson the flamen's knife ; sadly she joined In the melodious chanting of the hymn. The rite now ended, her companions left The temple ; but some impulse, so she thought, Urged her to linger. Through long corridors, Which echoed to her footfall, wearing still Her robes of ministration, she passed on, — Her daughter by her side. Through secret rooms She wandered, in a vacancy of thought, — Through crypt and pillared portico, and all The ample shadowy range of twilight-courts, Until she seemed to stand once more in front Of Dian's altar. All the priests were gone, — Silent the sanctuary lay, which late Bung with the noise of tuneful instruments And manifold voices blent. She sate her down Hard by the altar ; but her bosom still Heaved with the tumult of her thoughts, — her eyes Were dimmed with tears, — and these few moments seemed To crush her spirit with an infinite woe, Till sudden the long-pent emotion found An utterance ; and, trembling at her words, She cried, " Oh, Galilean ! if indeed THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. G7 Thou art, and Thou alone, to be adored, Appear, and dissipate my lingering doubts ! " She spake, and, e'er the hollow echo died In the still temple, she was conscious He Before her stood once more. Alas ! how changed, How wasted now ! and with what evident trace Of suffering in his frame. Sorrow, indeed, Had all but quenched her fears through the sole sense Of sympathy. Those calm and Godlike brows Were keenly pierced and torn by cruel spikes, Driven deep into the flesh, — stiffened with blood The tangles of His hair, — down His pale cheek The large drops trickled slowly, — and a robe Of faded purple loosely wrapped His form ; His visage was now wrinkled o'er by care, The anguish of a self-included soul, There writing its stern secret. Yet, withal, His features wore that sweet embodied charm Of grace immortal that had made them look More beautiful than man's. His eye still gleamed With love that triumphed over all its wrongs, And pity that o'ermastered by its strength All energy of evil, — a benign And spiritual light, wherein no fire Of earthly passion mingled. With a look Of sadness, thrilling deeper than reproach, The lady thought He fixed on her His eye, Thus speaking : " Thou hast called, and I have come ! 68 THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. Thou lookest on these wounds, — regard them well : Thy husband's hands have caused them. Even now He hastens to the judgment-seat, to judge And to condemn me, — Me, his Grod and thine ! " And, on the instant, as white clouds ascend At evening from a mountain top, the mists Were lifted from her brain. The eventful dream Was ended, and all trembling, but convinced, The dreamer woke. She woke, and, with surprise, Looked round the chamber, while her happy child Ran to her with a rose-wreath, and exclaimed, " Mother ! the chaplet ! and my father says This very night he'll wear it, when he sups With Herod." Her words faltered, for a shout Came from the court below, and, following fast, Another and a louder. " my child ! " The mother cried, " what mean these angry sounds ? " " My father said to me but now," the maid Replied, " when I was showing him my wreath, That he was hastening to the judgment-seat ; For a strange prisoner, of whom I have heard Thee and my father speak, — the Galilean, — Was this day to be judged. This must be He ; Let us look forth, and we may see Him while He passes through the court." The child ran out, Through the half-open casement, to a wide And lofty balcony. With thoughts and fears THE DREAM OF CLAUDIA PROCULA. 09 Unutterable rising in her mind, The mother followed her, and placed herself Where all was visible that passed below. She glanced down timidly, and, in the midst Of a fierce thronging crowd, who screamed and yelled As if athirst for blood, she saw One come With feeble staggering step. Rude arms were raised In violent menace round, — reproach and scorn Assailed Him from a thousand furious tongues, — But His lips moved not. As she looked, there stepped A soldier forth and smote Him in the face, — The Sufferer fell, and all the rabble jeered. They dragged Him as He lay along the ground, — His hands were bound with thongs, His thick, damp hair Was clotted all with blood, — and, as He rose And crept with pain, one cried, " How will He bear The cross ? " and all the rabble jeered again. At length, beneath the balcony whereon She stood, the Sufferer came. He paused A moment, and looked up. His eye met hers, — Piercing and pure, — and its calm glance revealed His knowledge of her woe. It thrilled her heart With the quick sense that He had been with her Unseen, — come silently unto her side In that dim land of shadows, and controlled The wild and subtle movement of her dream. 70 THE VINE OF NOAH. THE YIXE OF NOAH. A HEBREW LEGEND. When the old patriarch, whom the flood had spared. Began round Ararat to till the plain, He planted, on a sunward slope prepared, The grape, — the apple of his future bane. At evening walking forth, surprised he saw An altar built beneath the leafy vine ; A sudden impulse bade him nearer draw, And he beheld a dark portentous sign. A towering Form stood by the mystic fire, Robed as a Priest in act to sacrifice ; And while he watched the breathing flame aspire, A gloomy gladness sparkled in his eyes. Then first a lamb which bleated at his side He slew, — next spilt a shaggy lion's blood ; A mountain ape, strange victim ! also died, And last a brindled wild-boar of the wood. THE VINE OF NO ATI. 71 Their bodies on the altar-fire he throws, — The streams of blood commingling seethed and hissed Up through the vine a deadly smoke arose, And wrapped its branches and its leaves in mist. The patriarch watched the impious rite with dread, Like some wild bloody dream it tranced his eyes, Till turning round, the Priest of Evil said, " Xow learn why I have offered sacrifice! " I am the Prince of all the world, — and thee I thank, Xoah, that when forced to quit My realm a while, thou, by my sacred tree, Hast given me speedy welcome back to it. " For well may I do honour to the Vine, — Through it the earth surrendered to my will Once more I augur, and display the sign Of its effect, which Time shall soon fulfil. " He who its generous juice shall taste may be As gentle as a creature of the fold, — Let him drink on, and, like the lion, he Shall wax defiant, fierce, and uncontrolled. " Still let him drink, — the braggart soon will grow An empty, noisy chatterer like the ape, — At last, in all uncleanness grovelling low, The vilest of the brutes in human shape!" 72 THE VINE OF NOAH. Still in the vine-leaves hung the vapours grey, When Priest, and Fire, and Altar vanished all, Nor dreamt the patriarch, on his homeward way, It was the shadow of his future fall ! THE TEMPLE OF SAIS. 73 THE TEMPLE OF SAIS. " Certainly this kind of learning deserves the highest form amongst the difficiles nugae; and all these hieroglyphics put together will make but one good one, and should be for — labour lost." — Stillingfleet. In Egypt's golden time, a temple stood In Sais, by the branches of the Nile, "Where sages many a mystic art pursued, And priests of Neith* filled her chosen pile. Thither went pilgrims out of all the land, — Grey-bearded age came linked with blooming youth ; And o'er the porch some priestly artist's hand Had traced, in symbols, much of occult truth. First was the figure of an Aged Man, Who dragged with pain his languid footsteps slow, — And by his side a bright-haired Stripling ran, Hope in his eye, and courage on his brow. Here soared an Eagle upwards, all the while Looking as if he dared the sun to dim His ardent vision, — there a Fish of Nile Seemed in another element to swim. * The Egyptian Minerva. 74 THE TEMPLE OF SAIS. And last was pictured all the hideous length Of a huge Crocodile, — each iron scale That ridged the monster's spine, his sinewy strength, And the dull gleaming of his bronzed mail. " If you would understand each mystic sign," So spake a priest to pilgrims gathered round, " Give ear before you pass within the shrine, Whilst I their deep significance expound. " The Old Man and the Boy, — this group implies The sense concerns grave age and careless youth ; The Eagle, sharp of sight, denotes the wise All-seeing One who loves the heart of truth. " That animal unclean, the Fish of Nile, Which the pure gods detest, doth symbolise Hatred and loathing ; and the Crocodile That pride which oft assumes devotion's guise. " Now hear in full the solemn oracle, And shun the worship the immortals hate, — " ' ye who soon must bid the world farewell, And you who are but entering through its gate ! " • Know that the gods, from whose all-piercing eyes Night hath no veil, and mortal hearts no shroud, Look to the spirit of the sacrifice, And hate the impious offerings of the proud.' " THE PILGRIMS. iO THE PILGEIMS : AN APOLOGUE. i. Four Pilgrims rose before the dawn Four pii- To reach, ere close of day, forthaT A royal town, whose turrets rose morning J ? light to reach Twelve weary leagues away. before even- They grasped their staves, and firmly bound Golden City. Their dusty sandals on, And started forth ere up the East The ruddy day-spring shone. They knew the gates were shut at eve On all who were without ; That savage beasts through all the night Prowled sullenly about ; That many a laggard pilgrim's bones Were bleaching on the plain, — And fast they strode along the road, That happy hold to gain. who will first behold the hill Those golden turrets crown ? who is he who first may see The marble-templed town ? 76 THE PILGRIMS. The Pilgrims They struck their staves upon the ground, becLI^of 7 Which rung beneath their tread, — the heat and gtffl y fa d fe th rQunded sun burden of the ° ? da y- And faster still they sped. Their shortening shadows called to them Still faster on to press ; And thus they cheered away the thought Of toil and weariness : — " j°y to enter through the gate ! joy to be at home ! To hear the welcome shout, — At last The wanderer hath come ! " Then silently they journeyed on, And none his mate addrest ; But all the sweeter eve will be, And welcomer the rest. Their shadows shrink, the white sun darts His fiery arrows down ; — happy he who first may see The marble-templed town ! THE PILGRIMS. 77 in. At noon some palms across the way Their broad, cool shadow cast, — A well gushed freshly, and the birds Sang sweetly as they passed. Each pilgrim to his fellow spake, And bade him be of cheer, When suddenly three men came forth, And eyed them with a sneer. They followed them with bitter words, With flouting gibe and laugh, Till roused to anger one stepped round, And fiercely raised his staff. On him the strangers rushed, with each A weapon in his hand, And soon the feeble palmer-staff Was shivered like a wand. They dashed him wounded on the plain,- Fast flowed the red blood down ; — O hapless he who ne'er shall see The marble-templed town ! That evil thing, Sen- sual Passion, leadeth one of the Pil- grims astray. 78 THE PILGRIMS. IV. That evil Mournfully onwards went the three, suai Plea- They cannot turn nor wait, — sure, leadeth Q jf tl s h ou ld not reach the town, astray an- 7 J other. Ere closing of the gate ! The hot sun glows, no palm-tree throws Its shadow o'er the way, And, parched with thirst, they faint beneath The burden of the day. They see some camels near a tent Where other wayfarers rest, Who, as they pass, with courtesy The weary band addrest. They bid them drown their thirst in wine, And hold a goblet up, — One turns aside into the tent And quaffs the mantling cup : He thought of the long weary way, And then he sate him down ; — wretched he who ne'er may see The marble-templed town ! TOE PILGRIMS. 79 They heard the merry shouts that rose From out the revellers' tent, And many a sad thought stirred beneath Their silence as they went. Three hours from noon the sun had crept Still farther down the sky, When, as they journeyed, on the left They heard a joyful cry. And one ran up whose hand was full Of coins of ruddy gold, — " Come, follow me," he cried, " and share A mine of wealth untold. For years I knew of treasures hid Within a secret spot, About a bow-shot off, and long, But vainly, for them sought ; But Fortune hath, with tardy smile, My toils at last repaid : This gold is from a jar which I Have shivered with my spade. The two re- maining Pil- grims are as- saulted by a grievous temptation. 80 THE PILGRIMS. VI. That evil " Now turn aside, and share the spoil ousness,iead- That is before us cast, — tMrdPir he Y ° U Wel1 ma y trUSt the g ener0US heart s rim - That hailed you as you passed. The brazen vases stand in rows, Full-swollen with gems and gold, Coins, ingots, heavy chains, inwrought By hands of craftsmen old." One paused awhile and thought, "What harm If I should turn aside ? 'Tis but a moment," — and he left The highway with his guide. He sees the dusky gold, the pearls, The chains that dimly shone, And all his thoughts of home and friends Are on the instant gone. That evil thing, the lust of wealth, Up in his heart hath grown ; — wretched he who ne'er shall see The marble-templed town ! THE PILGRIMS. 81 VII. All clouded were the Pilgrim's eyes And heavy was his heart, When from his side he saw his friend For evermore depart. The last of four that rose at dawn, He goes upon his way, And now the lengthening shadow shows The pauseless flight of day. More carefully he girds his loins, More firmly grasps his staff, Though, as he passes, oft he hears The loud insulting laugh, And sees the finger of his foes That points him out to scorn, As the fond fool who madly dares An enterprise forlorn: And oft to lead his steps astray They veil their hate with smiles, And seek with smooth and flattering words To lure him to their wiles. The fourth Pilgrim go- eth sorrow- fully on his way, but keepeth his integrit . 82 THE PILGRIMS. VIII. The Pilgrim Though often with a sinking heart, mount from Yet with a constant mind, ha h th h a h cheeiv The pilgrim journeyed on in hope, in g vision of ^or ever looked behind. the Golden City. But when at last with toil he gained A hill's umbrageous brow, How fair a vision lighted up The spacious plain below ! The Golden City spread afar, All reddened with the light, And radiant palaces and towers, And marble temples white ; And fresh through richest verdure ran A river clear and cool, — Sure never to a pilgrim's eye Was sight so beautiful. His face is bright, his heart is light, The elastic soul doth bound Within him, and his foot at last Hath touched the holy ground. THE PILGRIMS. 83 IX. He passes through the gate, and hears The voice of jubilant psalms, — And white-robed citizens come forth To greet him, bearing palms; And all the mingling bells ring out, And all the minstrels sing, — Sure never to a pilgrim's ear Were sounds so ravishing. Harp, cittern, lute, and dulcimer, How sweetly do they play ! How kind the glances and the smiles That meet him on the way ! They clothe him with a snowy robe, They lead him to the feast, And there the Prince of all the land Bids welcome to his guest. And thus the minstrels sing, while goes The peaceful evening down : — " happy he who now doth see The marble-templed town ! " He entereth through the gate into the City, and findeth wel- come and rest. 84 THE ABBOT AND FOOL. THE ABBOT AND FOOL. The Fool made mirth in the convent-hall, While the Abbot and monks were feasting all, — " Now, sirrah, come hither," the Abbot cried, And he took up a staff that lay by his side ; " With this staff in my name you will promise to greet The veriest fool you may chance to meet." The monks applauded with hearty laugh, And the Fool assented and took the staff. Not long after the Abbot fell sick, And he lay on his bed breathing short and quick ; All who saw how he gasped for breath Knew that his sickness would end in death. For the parting soul many masses were said ; And monks were kneeling about his bed, And friends stood round with looks of gloom, When the Fool came softly into the room. " Alas ! " said the Abbot, with heavy moan, " That I must leave all, and be quickly gone ! " THE ABBOT AND FOOL. 85 " And whither, dear uncle, must thou go," Asked the Fool, " from the friends who love thee so ? " " I must go to a country far away, A summons is come that I must obey." " But if thou must go, thou hast treasures rare, — These thou wilt take, and be happy there ! " " Alas ! " said the Abbot, " though loath of mind, My jewels and gold I must leave behind/* " But, then, you have surely out of your store Sent the choice of all that you loved before ? " " Alas ! " said the Abbot, with mortal groan, " There is nothing prepared, yet I must be gone ; I have made no provision against the way, And a message is come that brooks no delay ! " " Nothing ! but, sure, you have taken heed To secure a friend to supply your need ? " " I have none ! " he shrieked, " for I wished not to go, And that makes the journey so fearful now ! " " Here, then, is a staff which may stand thee in stead/' And he laid it down on the Abbot's bed ; " If what thou hast spoken be true, I greet The veriest fool I ever did meet ! " THE BIRD AND THE BEE. THE BIED AND THE BEE. The Bird is your true Poet. I have seen him When the snow wrapped his seeds, and not a crumb Was in his larder, perch upon a branch, And sing out of his brave heart a song of trust In Providence, who feeds him though he sows not, Nor gathers into barns. Whate'er his fears Or sorrows be, his spirit bears him up. Cares ne'er o'ermaster him, — for 'tis his wont To stifle them with music, — out of sight He buries them in the depth of his sweet song, And gives them a melodious sepulture. He teaches me Philosophy, — yea, more, He leads me up to Faith. Your busy Bee No favourite is of mine. There is no music In that monotonous hum. To me it seems A trumpet, which the little Pharisee Sounds, that the common people of the field May well regard his industry, and mark How he improves the sunshine. Even that song THE BIRD AND THE BEE. 87 Dies with the flowers ; for when the dreary days Of winter come, he folds his wing to lie In his luxurious halls, and there amidst His magazines of daintiest food, and vaults Brimming with luscious amber-coloured wine. The spiritless sluggard dreams away his hours ; Or if he wake, 'tis but to gorge himself In solitude with the rich surfeiting fare Of an exclusive feast. His hospitality No stranger ever shares. Heedless he sees His mates of summer droop and starve before His frozen gates. He revels deep within ; Without they die : yet the small misanthrope Shall guard his treasures with a surly sting ! 88 THE PEASANT AXD THE POET. THE PEASANT AND THE POET. How diverse are the specular points of thought Whence mortal minds, though quickened by one breath, Behold this glorious world ! The Peasant sate Under an alder by a river's side At noon. It was the warm and pleasant time Of early summer. All the air was sweet With breath of violets, and the blackbird spoke To the hushed woods at intervals, or threw Out of the thicket snatches of sweet song In the caprices of his fearless joy. A gladsome life was humming in the air And stirring in the grass ; small insects swam In eddying dances o'er the rippling stream, Which breathed a coolness round it ; — but the eye Of him who sat so near to Nature's heart Was blank and dull, — his sluggish soul unstirred By those strong pulses of abounding life. It now roamed restlessly from the thin clouds, That necked the soft blue sky, to an emerald patch THE PEASANT AND THE POET. 89 Of springing wheat, which had not for some days Been freshened by the gentle visiting rains. His brow was clouded with a deep distrust. As thriving, but as churlish as the Jew Who sheared his sheep in Carmel, he had reaped His harvests from his youth, and never knew The appointed course of Nature fail, — but learned No thankfulness. It was his wont to watch And wear out the slow passage of the months With sighing, and, untutored by the past, To chide the sunshine for one ray too bright, And count suspiciously the drops of rain. Such minds, case-hardened in their selfishness, Can take no view of mighty laws at work Beyond the narrow limits of one grange Or homestead, — never balance private loss Against a general gain, — nor apprehend The genial mystery of life, and growth, And fruitfulness, in even passage round The world. They fret that highest Providence Stands never at their middle point, nor marks The several seasons off, and intersects The elements by lines as clear and sharp As the degrees upon a weather-glass. No lesson had this vacant soul derived From the deep symbols which the universe Held ever in his eye, — no charm discerned In its still varying aspects. For to him 90 THE PEASANT AMD THE POET. The world was voiceless. Never to his heart Came from its tuneful movement those accords Which, through the lingering seasons, sound for those Whose ears, by thoughtful discipline, incline Unto its sweet and spiritual song. Upon the further bank of the clear stream, That winded through the alders at his feet With shallowy, lulling noise, a verdant slope Appeared, now golden with the broom, — the haunt Of birds, which there rang all the summer-hours With weariless voices. To this breezy height, Solicited by their songs, now climbed a youth, With foot that crushed the thyme-blooms clustering low Among the roots of grass, or muffled sank In the plump mosses. He had walked within Thy myrtle grove, gentle Poesy ! — With old philosophies, sublimely taught In Attic or in Alexandrian schools, His earnest soul had grappled. His dim lamp Had oft outwatched the stars, the while it shone On records wherein patient thought beholds The image of the Future in the Past, — Stores mellow wisdom from the ripe-sheaved fruits Of old Experience, — and detects the springs Of action, which, elastic and unworn, Vibrate through all varieties of life, THE PEASANT AND THE POET. 91 Fulfil the will of sovran Providence, And move the World through Darkness, Fear, and Change, Towards a brighter Destiny. To him Earth still her look of ancient glory wore, Xor faded was the rich empyreal light From mountain, wood, and sea. His fervid mind Was conscious of a movement and a glow, Self* sprung, but quickened by the things of sense, Of deep capacities within it, whence The radiance of Imagination gleamed, As the clear fire waves upwards from a soil Instinct and quick with bubbling naphtha- springs ; And fancies trembled through it many-hued And beautiful, like needles of the frost That sparkle in the sunlit Arctic air. Not yet had chilling Disappointment breathed Upon his generous ardour, nor had Death Within the charmed circle of his hopes Made threatening entrance, nor Ingratitude Shattered his faith in man. Unknown to him Was that sharp sorrow which is born of Time, Which, like the shadow, lengthens on our path As life slopes from its noon. So now he girt And braced his spirit for ennobling toil, That, when the joyous summons came, he might Play well his part upon the crowded stage. 92 THE PEASANT ANT) THE POET. The early summer dawn had called him up To studious labour, cheerfully resumed ; And wearied now with unrelaxing thought, He sauntered forth to pass no idle hour Under the freshness of the open sky. The beauty he beheld in heaven, and earth, And air, touched his free spirit in its depths With thankfulness and love. A tingling sense Of joy refined and pure, a consciousness Of Majesty and Glory shed abroad Through the wide realms of Nature, lifted up His mind to Him whose Spirit lives through all, And gives all breath and bloom, as if he saw The universe in God's immediate smile Silent and blessed lying ; his soul was moved Within him in a trance of deep delight, And with a throbbing heart and sparkling eye He gazed around him from the wooded mount, And in the ear of Nature spoke aloud, Wedding the music of his thoughts to words : — " This visible World is the transparent woof On which the spirit figures to itself Its fleeting images. The forming mind Creates and blends the colours, pencils out The whole device of that mysterious web, Whose rich entangled cyphers represent All spiritual light and shadow. Hence to some THE PEASANT AND THE POET. 93 The curtain of the universe is dyed With black and purple hues ; its sombre folds Hang close and heavy, loading all with gloom, — Or to some viewless influence move and shake, Like vapours warping on a breeze remote ! In other eyes, it quivers as a blue And lucid veil, investing forms of sense With softer loveliness, and interfused With tints more beauteous than the gleams of dawn. But 'tis the mind itself that radiates This light, or spreads this darkness round the world. The flakes of crimson cloud that drift at even Through a clear sky, that undulates with waves Of amber light, — the shadowy Coming up Of Evening through the element, — the slow Arising of the Moon behind a grove, — The golden-mailed legions of the sky, Led on by that white Star that shines so pure And brilliant in its singleness, — the haze Of sunlight on the sea, where water blends With fluent air, — the glooms of summer woods, — The misty blueness of the distant hills, — Are beautiful ; their fascination charms The sense ; but theirs is beauty of the mind Not less than of the eye. To him who loves, The thought of that beloved One, who lights Both hemispheres of Memory and Hope, [The one full-rounded populous world of Love, 94 THE PEASANT AND THE POET. Where Hope makes Day, and Memory moony Night,] Is blended with them all, — yea, beautifies All Nature with a lustre of its own. And to the glance of him who lives by Faith, "Whose hopes have overspired the cloud of Sense, Whose heart still points to Heaven, — this glorious world Is as a sacred page illuminate And charactered in stainless hues of light With holy mysteries. Each form of life Or growth, — each calm, unconscious mood of things Fixed in eternal sameness, deep and still, — Each varying aspect of Creation's face, Give nourishment to thoughts that live in things Unseen. Each voice or sound that meets his ear From hedge or woodland, vale or open field, Touches some spring of feeling, or reveals Some sudden parable of truth. Perchance That Galilean scene will live again Upon the eye, when He whose mind perceived The clearness of the deepest thoughts of God, Expounded His divine philosophy By types familiar to the careless glance Of common men. Thus all that he beholds, Becomes the sign of things whose Archetypes Are hid for ever in the Holy Mount ! " The Peasant listened to these words, and more, Then spoken, which it boots not to rehearse. THE PEASANT AND THE POET. 95 " I have heard of such !" he said, and eyed the youth Not without pity. To his heart untuned They sounded like some idle rhapsody, The loose-linked utterance of a dreamy mind. So in mid-ocean two shell-crusted planks, Wrenched on some night of tempest from the ribs Of ships wrecked far asunder, meet and touch A moment, drifted by the changeful winds Or currents cross, — but only meet to part For ever, and heave onwards restlessly Over the trackless waves to opposite poles. 96 TO WORDSWORTH. TO WOKDSWOKTH. Ille velut fidis arcana sodalibus olim Credebat libris ; neque, si male cesserat, usquam Decurrens alio, neque si bene ; quo fit ut omnis Votiva pateat veluti descripta tabella Yita senis. Qui sibi fidit, Dux regit examen. Horace. To thee, my latest and not least-loved guide, In those sequestered haunts where finer minds Take refuge, where, in shadows of still thought, They lead a tranquil life : to thee, the true And Master-Poet of our time, I owe Some tribute, and would fain connect thy name With these, the records of some lonely hours. I have not looked upon thy living face, Though once, a wayfarer, I stood beside Thy gate, desirous to fulfil a wish Long cherished. But a cloud had gathered then Over thy dwelling ; and the shrouded form TO WORDSWORTH. 97 Of Death sate by thy threshold. I would not Thrust myself in between thee and thy woe, — So with some leaves from thy thick clustering sheaves Of laurel, I passed up along the lake, Upon a way familiar with thy feet, Reverencing the sacredness of grief. It was a peaceful evening of June, "When not a wind was whispering through the reeds Of Rydal. Island, tree, and purpling hill Beheld their shadows charmed to steadfastness In the unbreathing water. The low chime Of the church-bell spoke musical and clear Over the lake, 'Tis pleasant, in these scenes Of tropical luxuriance now outspread Around me, — brakes of myrtle, orange-groves, Overplumed here and there by some tall palm, And clouds of vines, slow-ripening in the warmth Of these blue Libyan skies, — to let the mind Recall that summer evening, when I went Foot-wandering through thy sweet vales, and felt The blossoming hawthorn scent thy happier air, England ! Much in these past days I mused Amidst the scenes from which thy verse has drawn Its genial inspiration ; — much since then, In other lands, of what my life of mind 98 TO WORDSWORTH. In solitary growth, and silent joy, From pure resources, to the lowliest sphere Benignly ministered, has owed to thee, Great Poet ! For to me it likewise chanced, In my unguided youth, to wander far, And, parched with intellectual thirst, to drink At those polluted wells, which, for the bane Of after-times, a strong but reckless art Had opened. There I lingered long, in hope To find refreshment, but strange bitterness "Was in the draught, and after it no sense Of free and bracing gladness. Then, when first, In this revulsion of the heart, I turned To paths despised before, and felt the power That dwelt in thy tranquillity to soothe And harmonize the mincl, — the peace inhaled From still communion with the tranquil forms Of Nature, whose low voices seemed to haunt Thy song, as wind among the forest-leaves, — It was as if, while straying far and lone Through a wide wilderness, I had suddenly Found a green valley folded in fair hills, And in the midst a fresh and lucid pool, In whose unwrinkled deeps, each little spire Of grass, each reed that fringed it, and each rock Moss-stained that overhung it, had most clear Pieflection, with the statelier images Of tree and girdling mountain. There I have since TO WORDSWORTH. 99 Tarried with grateful heart, still finding more Delight and solace in the delicate air Of unpolluted Nature, — learning more Of the maternal care with which she tends, And the mild beauty wherewith she has blessed, Her lowliest offspring. Nor, while, for this good By my own mind inherited, I own My thankfulness, am I less deeply stirred In heart, when, glancing wider, I can trace In purer tone and feeling, holier love And reverence for truth, and a return To old and long -neglected paths of thought (Paths through the deep, rank forest early cleared By our forefathers), blessings manifold The general age inherits with thy verse. Enough we had, more than enough, of wild And gloomy portraitures, — proud spirits driven To frenzy by their passions, foaming out Their shame, — minds whose depravity became An inspiration, breathing through despair, And clothing blasphemy with burning words. There Vice made men heroic, — Life appeared A masquerade of phantoms, raised above Our mortal stature, who, with devilish wails From under their dark vizors, and anon With devilish laughter, raved across its stage, As if the fiends had come to dwell with flesh. 100 TO WORDSWORTH. There came the sated sensualist, well-skilled In self-anatomy, on whose thin lips The bitterness of a bad heart frothed up In sneers ; with him, the Sceptic, nobly-born, But wretched, through whose strange soliloquies Faltered some guilty secret, that might throw A charm of mystery round his blighted youth. Nor were there wanting outlaws, and self-spurned Apostates, who, in ruin, still retained One mild redeeming virtue, — who could lead Eeckless and stormy lives, and trample shame When need were under foot, and shout for joy Through the dun smoke of battle, yet recall Their fiery spirits, when their hawk-like flight Was in its highest circle, to the lure Of Love ; for Love was linked with all, and threw Its bland enchantment over scenes of blood. Then the scene shifted to the chime of sweet Voluptuous numbers, — gorgeous visions flushed The odour-steaming air, rich stained lights, And silken draperies, and lutes that breathed A slumberous music to a damsel's tale, — A lovelorn maiden, passing fair, who clung To some strong, desperate nature with a fond Fidelity, as the green plant twines round A blasted tree. And this was human life. Such was its inward struggle, such its griefs TO WORDSWORTH. 101 And joys, — for such our sympathies were claimed : For Wickedness that bared to the world's eye Its festering sores, — for Suffering that awoke Her selfish wail, unhumbled for the guilt That caused it, — for Despair which, from its depths, At Heaven still hurled defiance, — and for Pride That, vengeance-scathed and unrepentant, bore Its curse, and lifted high its branded brow. Thus to its highest heaven could Song exalt All that was false, unnatural, and foul. Out of this faint and sickly atmosphere, And strife of hateful passion, thou wert first To lead us into pure and liberal air ; Thy hand, prevailing Poet ! found the string To which the heart responded, — from it drew Mysterious harmonies, and struck it till The mild vibration, drowned at first, rose clear, Like some sweet, silvery voice, over the din Of clamorous instruments, and held the time Charmed by its mere simplicity, that made A silence for itself, till all around Its echoes multiplied and filled the land. The freshness of the vernal woods possessed Thy stately song, — the sounds of summer-hills, — The goings of the wind in the close tops Of trees, — the babbling of the brook, that seems To the old man's heart a voice from far-off days 102 TO WORDSWORTH. Of childhood, — and from these its tones of strength And tenderness it drew. So thou stoodst forth The Interpreter of Nature to the mind, To teach us all that lay beneath her sounds And silences, her changes and repose, The mystery of her kindredness with man, — The likeness of a human face beneath The veil of Isis, answering smiles and tears, — An aspect shifting to our every mood, — A beating heart that presses up to ours In concord ; to explain what we had felt In hours of tranquil thought, but wanted words To utter, and were glad without the will To trace the hidden wellspring of our joy. 'Twas thine, benign Hierophant ! to show The fine relations which, in the mind's sphere, Invest the universe with glory and light Unknown to sense ; to make the soul infuse Its own life into Nature's lifeless forms, — And then, receiving what it gave, to move Among them as its thoughts ; to take them up Into the substance of its being, and evoke, Where'er it turned^ clear shapes and images Of its emotions, coloured with the hues Of fantasy, and crowd the element Of consciousness with creatures of its own. Thus, interpenetrated by the mind, The simplest scenes and pleasures to thy glance TO WORDSWORTH. 103 Were beautified ; and not a lonely bird From whose small heritage of song thy soul Was not enriched, and not a woodland flower Over which thou, full-hearted, didst not stoop And give it benediction. The blue smoke Curling from cottage roofs awoke the sense , Of sympathy within thee with the life Beneath. It spoke to thee of humble men,^— Their trials and their .sorrows, the hard strife Of poverty, the daily round of toil, The anxieties of sickness, clouded days Slow darkening to death. The gleams of joy With which the meanest lot is brightened made Thee glad, and all its genial virtues found With thee their celebration. Thus thy art Stood singular, as some pure instrument Or temple-pipe reserved for lofty themes, To chant, in solemn tones, the nobleness Of Love, and Trust, and Patience ; to expound The law of Kindness, and the power which dwells In Virtue sheathed in Gentleness ; to show The heroism of a life which walks With meek endurance in its separate path Of suffering ; and the loveliness of Hope, And home-bred Innocence, and guileless Truth. And hence the freedom, purity, and glow That gave thy verse its charm. Its voice was strong 104 TO WORDSWORTH. And musical, as of the sounds that haunt The hills, — -its movement graceful in the joy Of overflowing life, — its bloom the healthy flush And freshness ministered by bracing winds And unpolluted air. Through all its veins Of thought the tranquil pulses rose and fell, — The calm, slow beating of the heart was heard. Such are thy well-earned honours ; high, compared With those inherited from powers debased, And Genius that could stoop to be the slave Of sensual passion. It was well to lead A wildered age back to the love and truth Of uncorrupted Nature. Yet renown Still higher, which thou mightst have claimed and won, Is wanting. There are deeper needs which thou Hast left unprobed, unsounded, — holier ends, Which this mysterious nature lives to serve, Than thou hast recognised ; and to the sphere From which those principles of action flow Which mould and rule man, as a being formed For immortality, 'tis thy reproach, That in this clearness of the Christian light Thy strain has seldom soared. Thy chosen task Might have been done as now, yet this august Endeavour, worthy of thy tempered powers, Not left undone. For Nature, though endowed With kindly ministrations, which avail TO WORDSWORTH. 105 To soothe the spirit, fevered in the strife And fret of selfish passions, and assuage, As by the virtue of an anodyne, That restlessness of heart which earthly cares Engender, wooing the distempered mind To linger in her sweet society, Until the current of its thought runs clear And freshens, is most impotent to reach That shadowy seat of conflict in the depths Of this our spiritual being, — the dim lists "Wherein loud Conscience and the broken law, In dark array, against the trembling soul Marshal all terrors and all powers which troop Under the banner of an angry God. In that dread season when the thoughts, long bound Like seeds beneath the frozen clods, begin To stir, and burst their cells, and germinate "With a new life, and seeking everywhere For light, through the encumbering darkness, shoot Toward the crevices through which faint gleams Reach from the Eternal, — when the mystery And weight of evil, felt to be within And all around it, presses heavily Upon the mind, and every struggle it makes To break from its entanglement, entwines The meshes of the net more closely round, — That light and power, through which it may attain To freedom, from a higher sphere must come H 106 TO WORDSWORTH. Than the low circle of the universe Horizoned by the eye. It faints beneath This crushing load, the consciousness of Guilt, Whereunto ever a vague haunting Fear Cleaves as the shadow of Death. Beholding now The true end of its being, and the claim Of an eternal law to all its love And loyalty, the sense of its revolt From God, and willing vassalage to Sin, Strikes through it as a pang, and, self-condemned, Self-loathed, it bows its head without a plea, Full in the sweep of that clear sword which guards The Majesty of Heaven. mystery Of grace surpassing thought ! a trembling hope Is, for the lowly mourner, born from out The travail of his soul, — a still small voice Bids him look up, and see the Sacrifice Still bleeding in its wounds for him, upon The Altar-Throne of Heaven, and, as he looks, Speaks to him of forgiveness, soothes and stills The alarm of Conscience, and, with gentle strength, Goes forth through all the elements of the soul, And charms them into holy quietness. Such is the reconcilement Nature needs, — Solution for her doubts, abiding peace For an inbred disquietude, and health For a deep-seated plague, not to be reached TO WORDSWORTH. 107 Save through His minstering grace benign Who lias revealed Himself to man, apart From inarticulate symbols, in the Word, Instinct with spirit and penetrating life, As a redeeming God. At peace with Him Through this divine atonement, light is shed On all the high relations which link man To the Eternal, as the native haunt And region of his being. Through the veil That once concealed the sanctuary, a gleam, Serene, and beautiful, and holy, falls Upon the mind, and in the light of God, As its clear element and new-born sense, The purged eye beholds the glory of things Invisible, the beauty of holiness, The fair perfections that invest and crown The Godhead, and in these its perfect bliss And consummation, as a being dowered With Immortality. Where'er it shines, Upspring the seeds of life, and sacred powers, That branch like veins through all the conscious heart, Possess it inwardly. The awakening breath Of the Eternal Spirit moves and stirs Within it, as upon the gloomy deeps From which arose the World. He, as a soul Within the soul, fdls it with vigorous life, Transforms it by the holy power of Love, Exalts it to a generous liberty 108 TO WORDSWORTH. Chartered by highest law, so that it feels The blessedness of freedom, circumscribed By one serene and all-embracing Will. For as the same round sky encompasseth The earth, and bounds with its blue luminous walls, Sunbright, or starred with unconsuming fires, The furthest range of vision, all pure minds Within that boundless circle breathe the air Of Freedom and of Duty ; — all their paths Harmonious are but epicycles traced In the large orbit of the Will Divine. Thereunder all immortal natures stand In stateliness and beauty, each most free, Yet each most self- surrendered, each distinct In its own perfectness, while the same type Moulds and consummates all, as in a wood The trees that spring from the same seeds are one In essence, and yet each unfolds and finds Matureness in a diverse growth and spread Of branches, the one type self-multiplied In infinite variety. Thus the soul, Quickened by the free Spirit, expands and grows In freedom to the topmost height and flower Of its perfection ; thus to man are born The peace, the joy, the calm and heavenly hope, For which he might search Nature through and through, But vainly, — which abide with him through all TO WORDSWORTH. 109 The wasting grief and moonlike changefulness Of life. Thus Suffering, transmuted, grows The discipline of Faith, and is endued With purifying virtue from above. Not from the ground it springs, but down from Heaven Descends, with power to deepen and to cleanse The channels of the heart, which the world chokes With weeds and rubbish, that the stream of life May have a full and unimpeded flow. Prevailing love to God, now recognised, In the large effluence of His love to man, As a most tender Father, — love to Him Who on the cross shed unpolluted blood For man's Redemption, is the living spring Of saintly virtue, breathes through all the life The spirit of a sacrifice, — begets A love to all that God loves, and to man As God's. Love is the charm, the exorcism That casts the spirit of terror from the heart, — That fear, akin to hate, which slavelike crouched In the Taskmaster's eye, and did him cold Reluctant fealty ; and where Love dwells She makes a shrine, — all graces pure and fair, Like temple-haunting birds, do thither come As to a finer air, a sanctuary Which all serene untroubled influences Defend and beautify. Thus, even now, Some visitations of a heavenly joy, 110 TO WORDSWORTH. Calm festivals of thought, are to the soul Not unfamiliar. Oat of purity Grows up a sacred peace, which the vain world Can neither give, nor touch, nor take away. Its breath may never reach the tranquil depth Wherein that guerdon lies, — as the loud wind, That raves incessant on the mountain heights, Ruffles not the clear pool that sunken lies In their deep hollows. Life's loud storms, which break Around it, may not overwhelm the heart That has the steadfast anchor of its hope Within the veil, nor strain in one weak link The chain that holds it grappled to the Rock That overbrows Eternity. And Death, Life's shrouded, sleepless Phantom, King of Terrors, Who holds out his dark riddle, as the Sphinx, To all time's generations, and draws down Each to his cave in turn, around whose mouth Their bones lie bleaching, — dumb but armed Shadow That haunts our path through every turn of life, And with a soundless footfall treads behind, And hangs an unintelligible weight Upon the spirit, and strikes a mortal blow Into the heart of happiness, — unsolved And ever-looming Mystery, for whose power Nature hath no device nor charm of strength, But only answers us with groan for groan, — Is here discrowned : upon this holy soil TO WORDSWORTH. Ill Draws off his sandal, and awaits a voice, — Stands disenchanted in the look of Faith, — Unvizored of his spectral mask, he stands Transfigured to an angel, who leads forth The spirit from its prison, and all the way Through the dark valley shows it in the mould The footmarks of the Prince of Life, there left To mark for His redeemed the sacred path To immortality. Celestial hope ! That shines the ascendant star of gloomy hours, When some beloved form hath passed away, Some kindred nature which the heart grew round And lived in, which on its departure takes Light from the sky, and gladness from the earth, — The hope that it has entered into rest Supernal, joined the saintly company "Who worship day and night, where never Sin Can come, nor Pain, nor Sorrow, and that soon We too shall pass the golden gates, and swell This lofty celebration, and rejoice With those who went before us in a joy Unutterable, and pure, and ending never, Within the City of God. would that thou, Poet of Nature ! hadst more deeply felt, And, having felt, unfolded in thy verse These fears and struggles, hopes and tranquil joys ! 112 TO WORDSWORTH. Would thou hadst known that only in this depth The strong foundations of our inward life Are laid securely, and the building reared To its divine completeness ! Then thy song Had been an oracle of higher truth To man ; then Nature had not seemed less fair, Nor elements and forms, which to thy mind Grave forth their deep significance, become Silent and charmless. Fuller harmonies Had rolled from them over thy tranced soul, And thou, interpreting through them the voice Of G-od, imparted to all visible things A purer consecration. In that light, More open vision would have been vouchsafed, And a diviner faculty, to chant, Not Nature's praise, but in undying tones The praise of Him who formed it. For apart From God thus recognised, and ever kept In the mind's foreground, the exalted sense Of beauty, by a subtil art, may lead To the enthronement of the work, in place Of the great Master-Builder. Man may search For influences to nurture and refine, And dream he finds them there, while deeper wants Remain unsatisfied, and, thus beguiled, Resign his being to a passionate love Of that materialism which, with all TO WORDSWORTH. 113 Its splendours mingling in one gorgeous woof, Is but the curtain hung before the shrine. Would that, clear-toned as thine, great Bard! my voice Could lift rebuke against this tendency Of a too sensuous age, — this overfond Devotion to the beautiful and fair, Which would seduce us from the personal God, To worship some abstraction of the mind, Clothed in the forms of Nature ! Men evoke Some fantasy apparelled in cloudy pomp Of words, — the Spirit of the Universe, Or plastic Soul of Nature, or the Power Of Intellectual Beauty, — and to this, Their idol, out of dazzling images And glowing thoughts compacted, — as of old The desert Apis from the golden rings And chains of Israel, — they proclaim a feast Of high inauguration, and, with sound Of sweetest minstrelsy, they set it up, And call the world to worship. Let them learn That Nature, though to rarest spirit refined In their ideal visions, is not God, But from God, — that her glories, at their height, Reveal no avatar of the Divine, Xo incarnation of presiding Mind. Her ministration and her noblest aim Arc then fulfilled when, in her silent signs 114 TO WORDSWORTH. And in the language of her face, we read That He who formed her is alone divine, And spurns divided honours. Over all His works let His high attributes of power, Of majesty, of wisdom, and of grace, Stand eminent, — far-glittering spires that rise High o'er the crowded mass, and lead the thoughts To heaven. Thus, to the Greeks, who saw of old The templed mount of Athens from the gulf, The point of Pallas' spear, herself unseen, Gleamed o'er the snowy Parthenon, — a sign That she, the tutelar goddess, kept her watch Over the festive city. It were well That some, whose stately creed reserves no place For evangelic truths, which to the heart Of the unlettered peasant evidence Their heavenly power, and build his being up In silent sanctity, — some who would spurn, As the weak dream of fancy, his belief In the Eternal Spirit who transforms His inward life, — should learn that there may be A mysticism of reason as of faith. His thoughts may have a loftier range than theirs, Who speak as if the self-included mind By force of meditation could extract All aids to strengthen, guide, and purify, TO WORDSWORTH. 115 From Nature, — may, in solitude, become Passive recipient of the influences That bless her quiet realms, and be transformed Into the likeness of the images Of majesty and beauty they behold. The thoughtful spirit may be thus upborne Into some airy region, but can find Xo healthful nurture there, — cannot confront Its immortality, nor look through death With an upholding hope. The mountain peaks Of contemplation are the barren haunts Of everlasting snow, if, to the mind That dwells on them, the presence of its God Yield not reflection to all rays of light. These were thy haunts, O poet ! and, though thou Didst not leave Him unpraised, a firmer grasp, A more habitual and presiding sense Of His pure presence in thy life of thought And consciousness, had given a warmer glow Of fervour to thy song. Thou wouldst have felt The pulses of thy inmost being beat With quicker rapture, and thy thronging thoughts, Making sweet music as they came from depths Within the soul, insphered their passionate force, Not in an Orphic, but a prophet's hymn Of surging adoration. There was one Whose name stands high upon his country's roll 116 TO WORDSWORTH. Of poets, who, amidst a faithless age, Stood forward for the honour of his God, — Fresh be his memory to the ends of time, The pensive bard of Olney ! From the depths Of an unknown despair he could proclaim The heavenly hope to which the angels tuned Their harps at Bethlehem, and, in the woe Which crushed his gentle spirit, he could taste An angel's joy to see each wanderer Returning to that Father's house, whose .gates He deemed were shut on him. Within that heart There dwelt a love of Nature, deep, and true, And fervent as was thine. To him the sight Of wood, and sky, and mountain ministered Pure and perpetual gladness. Yet, through all Her voices manifold, he only heard The voice of Grod ; and, over all her realms, Outspread in splendour and in loveliness, He saw, in radiant signatures inscribed, One hierograph. The common ground to him "Was sacred, because trodden by the feet Of Him who stooped in human flesh to die A man for man's redemption. In his song He sought his inspiration from the touch Of altar-fire, and his philosophy Rose dripping out of Jordan. Nature's voice To him was not all gladness: he had been Within the shrine. His ear had caught the sound TO WORDSWORTH. 117 Of that mysterious symphony wliich breathes Out of Creation's heart to mortal woe, — The uncler-tone in that undying wail Wherewith the human generations mourn Beneath the weight of evil. He had heard The deepest notes which from the sevenfold pipe Of Pan come to the spiritual ear, — The creature groaning, travailing in pain, As subject unto change, until the day Of its redemption from the curse of Sin. The time has been, when, listening to the high And rapt discourse of that grey-headed sage Thy Wanderer, who, in a low estate, Cherished a thoughtful spirit, and could muse In ripeness of experience on Man, And Xature, and the Course of Time, I have wished That some occasion of his roving life Had led his footsteps southward to the banks Of Ouse. There he had haply learned some truths, That seemed to have no place in his benign Philosophy, from the poor Cottager, Who drew her store of wisdom from one book, The only one she had, — the Book of God. 118 THOUGHT ON A ROSE. THOUGHT ON A EOSE. Behold the marvellous structure of this Rose ! Full blown, immaculate, and in its firm Compactness an entire and odorous sphere. Withal so nicely fashioned that each leaf Is conscious of its individual being ; Each feels the soft wind breathing at its roots, The gentle sunshine stealing to its heart, And tingling in its smallest delicate vein As a pulse of gladness. Yet such sympathy Links leaf to leaf through all the little orb, That let but one be rent away and all Are instantly dissolved. The steadfast bond Of unity is broken by the wrong ; The fair and violated building crumbles Into a heap of leaves, one on another, Piled loosely like the uncemented stones Of an old temple. Thus doth Providence Image the problem of Society. IMAGINATION. 119 IMAGINATION. Not seldom will the Sun, when westering slow, Turn his bright e) r e upon a fronting train Of clouds, and from the mists and falling rain Weave suddenly his broad and gorgeous bow. The stainless air puts on a purple glow, The beauteous secresies of light are plain, And from these stripes the swimming vapours gain More splendour than the orient skies can show. Such is Imagination, and the power Which peoples Nature with its glorious dreams, Which sprinkles everywhere its golden shower, And to the fine-eyed Poet, in what seems His vacant but his visionary hour, Tints every cloud with mild auroral gleams. 120 THE VESPER HOUR. THE VESPER HOUR. Era gia l'ora, eke volge '1 disio A' naviganti, e intenerisce '1 cuore Lo di, ch'han detto a'dolci amici a Dio ; E eke lo nuovo peregrin d'aniore Punge, se ode squilla di lontano, Cke paia '1 giorno pianger, eke si muore. Dante, Purgat. Cant. viii. A rosy light the eastern sky is steeping, — The ripple on the sea has died away To a low murmur, — and the ships are sleeping- Each on its glassy shadow in the bay : The young Moon's golden shell over the hill Trembles with lustre, and the trees are still. The air grows clearer, and her amice blue The gentle Twilight hath about her cast, And from her silver urn she sprinkles dew : Silence and Sleep, twin sisters, follow fast Her soundless sandals, and where'er she goes Day-wearied Nature settles to repose. THE VESPER HOUR. 121 Hark ! the clear bell from that tall convent-tower Hath sounded, — and, or e'er its echoes die, Another chime hath rung the vesper hour, — A farther and a fainter makes reply; Till far and near the soft appeal to prayer With music fills the undulating air. Ye sweet-voiced bells, ring on ! Though at your call I may not breathe in prayer a creature's name, Yet on my heart more touching memories fall, And ye remind me of a holier claim, — His, whose undrooping eye alone can keep Watch over His beloved as they sleep. 122 MOONLIGHT. MOONLIGHT. How fair are now the heavenly places ! How lovely in their purity they are ! — The Moon is wandering up their azure spaces, Companioned by a single peerless star. The hills are still and clear ; the brightness Slants downward, tremulous, upon the trees ; One cloud, — a snowy island, — sees its whiteness Shining beneath it in the charmed seas. Beauty, sweet and spirit-thrilling ! Thy temple is the star-blue air of night ; Else why this trance of Nature, — this fulfilling Of tranquil thought, and mystery of delight ? A luminous element of gladness Now vaults our sphere of being, welkin- wise ; And should a thought there come akin to sadness, It cloud-like takes its colour from its skies. MOONLIGHT. 123 As light doth fill the crystal chalice Of air, the Beautiful the soul cloth fill ; This is the spell that opens Nature's palace, And makes us free to wander where we will. Peace has her dwelling in the borders Of night, — all turbulence dies with the day ; Her eye has power to soothe the mind's disorders, And all its tides heave gentlier at her sway. that we could but keep and cherish Such thoughts as then assuage our inward strife ! But soon, how soon ! the fairest visions perish Before the stern realities of life. With the refining sense of Beauty Xo power to purify the heart is given, — This dwells apart with Faith, which hallows Duty, And treads Time's highway with its eye on Heaven. 124 A NIGHT-RE YERIE. A NIGHT-KEVEKIE. The spirit of the starry hour Has traced the silent skies, — Upon the glimmering convent-tower The dreamy moonlight lies. A thin, blue haze of crystal air Is trembling on the sea ; And odorous blooms are faint whene'er The weak wind stirs the tree. It is the hour when Nature thrills The spirit to its core ; And all its chambers Fancy fills With golden hopes once more. And sad-eyed Memory singeth sweet The old and sacred lays, And mildly leads the world-worn feet To long untrodden ways. A NIGHT-REVERIE. 125 By no imperious power pursued, To which we yield at last, But by a gentle impulse wooed, We wander through the past. The heart floats onward with the tide Of thought, — a willing thrall ; And shadowy forms at distance glide, And long-lost voices call. It mingles with the holy calm Of Nature ; rapt afar, It hears the everlasting psalm That star repeats to star. Withdrawn into profound retreats, The world no more we see, And only hear the pulse which beats Across Eternity. 126 LINES TO A STAR. LINES TO A STAE. Bise, little star ! O'er the dusky hill, — See the bright course open Thou hast to fulfil. Climb, little star ! Higher still and higher, With a silent swiftness, And a pulse of fire. Stand, little star ! On the peak of Heaven ; But for one brief moment Is the triumph given. Sink, little star ! Yet make Heaven bright, Even while thou art sinking, With thy gentle light. LINES — ALEXANDER WEEPING. 127 Set, little star ! Gladly fade and die, With the blush of morning Coming up the sky. Each little star Crieth, " Life, man ! Should have one clear purpose Shining round its span." LIXES— ALEXANDER "WEEPING. What ! no more worlds to conquer ? Weep no more,- Look inward, and thy heart will show thee one : Or doubly weep, thy folly to deplore, That this first conquest is not yet begun ! 128 THE FLOWER AND OAK-SHOOT. THE FLOWEK AND OAK-SHOOT. i. The gentle winds of early May Were breathing through the wood, When, sauntering on my wonted way, In meditative mood, I saw a Flower which lifted up Beneath a bank its azure cup, New opened to the warm blue sky ; Its beauty touched me as I passed, I stood a while, and on it cast A calm, regardful eye. ii. Hard by, the twin leaves of a Plant Had cloven the dewy mould, — No charm of colour to enchant Had they, no grace to hold In mild arrest the passing foot, Which might have crushed the tender shoot, THE FLOWER AND OAK-SHOOT. 129 Unconscious of its presence there ; So, with no further note, my gaze I fixed in mute admiring praise On its companion fair. in. The Flower then, vaunting of its bloom, Thus to its neighbour cried, — "And durst thou, sluggish herb, presume To flourish at my side ? 'Tis but a week since I was sown By genial winds, and I have grown To perfect loveliness, while thou, Here lying all the winter through, These wretched leaves, with much ado, Hast barely opened now ! " IV. " Yes ! in a week thy beauty grew," The Plant thus made reply, "And in a week 'twill wither, too, And thou, vain upstart ! die. But I, in this mine infant hour, Painfully struggling with the power Of adverse elements, shall stand Stately and strong in after years, When thou, and all thy flaunting peers, Have vanished from the land. 130 THE FLOWER AND OAK-SHOOT. " Faith in my native nobleness Sustains my fragile form, And keeps me hopeful in the stress Of rain, and wind, and storm, And why should st thou thy beauty praise, The fantasy of summer days ? — The sun will spoil it at a stroke ; But ages yet my course remains, And royal blood is in my veins, For am not I the Oak ? " VI. " Honour and reverence to thee ! " I cried in ardent mood, " True scion of the royalty Of the umbrageous wood ! The rule of all patrician trees Is thine ; thy lofty destinies Nerve thee in this thy tender time ; And ministries of wind and air Shall discipline thy youth to wear The glories of thy prime ! VII. " A thousand summers thou wilt raise Aloft thy placid state ; THE FLOWER AND OAK-SHOOT. 131 And on thee, in thy latest (lays, Shall admiration wait. In peace thou wilt uplift afar The banner of the land ; in war The bearer of her thunders be, — And as thou didst command the wood, Then, with thy primal strength renewed, Thou wilt command the sea ! " 132 THE PETREL. THE PETREL. " Are ye not much better than they ? "—St Matthew vi. 26. Far out at sea, and slowly borne To lands beneath a southern sky, A vision came of years gone by, And thoughts that haunt a heart forlorn. As if my life had been a dream, And I, w T ith aimless course and blank, A weak weed, loosened from the bank, And idly drifting down the stream. As if there was no loving eye To guide my feet, and watch my ways, And I, chance-wandering through a maze, Might unregarded live and die. Behind me, I could only mark The hopes and pleasures I had lost ; Before me, like an unknown coast, The Future loomed through vapours dark. THE PETREL. 133 A troubled mood not free from sin, A murmuring at the will of God, A voice that cried against the rod From an unhumbled heart within. But so I mused, when near the ship It chanced a lonely sea-bird flew, — Low-hovering o'er the waters blue It curved with frequent downward dip. Long time I watched its wavering flight, — Hither and thither o'er the sea It skimmed, as if each movement free Followed an impulse of delight. No other living thing did move In that wide circle's desert bound, — The bleak sea heaving all around, The dim dome arching vague above. And then I thought,—" That little bird Hath its loved haunt at close of day, In some green island far away, Or rock or reef which breakers gird. " And not unguided doth it roam, — One eye its every wandering knows ; And in its heart an instinct glows That guides it to its distant home. 134 THE PETREL. " It hath no skill to sow nor reap, Yet for its daily want He cares, And its convenient food * prepares In the salt furrows of the deep. "And wherefore doubt, fearful heart! As if, through all thy wanderings wide, He will not be thy faithful guide, And act a loving father's part ? " Set not thy will with His at strife, — The water of the bitterest cup May be a fountain springing up Hereafter to eternal life/' I heard the mild admonishment, The echo of that voice of power Which on the Mount made every flower And bird a preacher of Content. And straightway the remembrance bred Within me hope and holy trust, — My spirit rose out of the dust, And worshipped, and was comforted. * "Feed me with food convenient for me."— Proverbs XXX. 8. SEQUEL TO THE FOREGOING. 133 SEQUEL TO THE FOEEGOIXG. " The stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord." — Jeremiah viii. 7. Yet, Lord, what is it but Thy grace, Enclosing us in its bright round, Which tells us men that we have found In Thy regard a higher place Than creatures of the air which wait, In meek and simple quietness, Upon Thy will, and ne'er transgress The limits of their ancient state. They never strain the genial band Which round about them Thou hast cast,- They keep an even course, and fast Within their several orders stand. 136 SEQUEL TO THE FOREGOING. Sin has not stung them with despair, — They breathe a free and painless breath ; Nor on their joy have fears of death Shut down a rigid weight of care. Fair Nature has no chilling glooms For them, — the wards of Providence, They wander on without offence, And sing through all their Father's rooms. The gentle guidance of Thy will, Within their measure, is their choice ; And they are glad, — for they rejoice Its light conditions to fulfil. Wooed by the ruffling airs of Spring, The stork forsakes her Syrian clime, And, true to her appointed time, Cleaves the blue air with nimble wing, To lands where Gothic minsters tear With spears of stone the trailing cloud, And marble statues o'er the crowd Look steadfast in the sultry square. There, spring by spring, she harbour finds In fretted niche, or moulding quaint; Or, at the feet of sculptured saint, Is shielded from the shifting winds. SEQUEL TO THE FOREGOING. 137 Thus, ever in the season sweet Of blowing flowers and budding leaves, The swallow twitters from the eaves, Or skims the sunny village street. And troops of cranes in serried ranks Move creaking on across the sky, And long arrest the peasant's eye Upon some river's viny banks. All come and go at Thy command, They find it joy enough to wait, Tn their low station, at Thy gate, For the dumb signals of Thy hand. But we, who, placed beneath the sway Of Conscience, can discern both good And evil, — in whose richer blood Immortal spirit beats alway, — Whose being wears the golden crown Of Reason, and whose free-born mind Was made its perfectness to find In perfect concord with Thine own, — Are in revolt against Thy law, And overstep its sacred bar, And from our Father's house afar In wicked pride of heart withdraw. 138 SEQUEL TO THE FOREGOING. We men, so far above them set, Consume our years in fruitless toils, And fret and struggle in the coils Of vain desire as in a net. And what but Love has watched our course, And out of blessings forged a chain To win us back to Thee again, With tender and prevailing force ? — Which, with strong arms around us cast, Would lead us higher than before, That we may love Thee more and more, And hold Thy good commandments fast ; — Which gives us, in its heavenly might, Strength to endeavour and endure, After Thy pureness makes us pure, Enlightens us with Thy great light, — And in Thy freedom makes us free, — That we may walk erect within Thy conscious presence, and begin To find our endless rest in Thee. TIMOLEOX. 139 TIMOLEON. A GEEEK STORY OF PROVIDENCE. (FROM PLUTARCH.) The moon on Corinth's temple shone, "When from the bay, Timoleon, Thy galleys with a favouring breeze Bore out into the silent seas. From mole and rampart rose the prayer That Heaven upon your course might smile, Tor Freedom is the boon you bear To Sicily's fair ravaged isle. The people watch the ships, and tell The omen which of late befell : How when, within the Delphic shrine, He prayed for some auspicious sign, A sacred wreath, — some conqueror's crown, The pledge of an accomplished vow, — From the high temple-roof fell down. And rested on Timoleon's brow. 140 TIMOLEON. " And thus," they cry, "Apollo leads Our captain crowned to lofty deeds ; He leads him on, and sends the gale That murmurs softly in the sail." They said, and sudden through the sky A pale, unearthly radiance streamed,- A mystic light, to every eye, Upon the foremost galley gleamed. It narrowed to a steadier glare, Then, meteor-like, it clove the air, — Clear as the torch the vested priest Waves in Eleusis at the feast. Before the ship it glided bright, The ship behind it followed free ; — Heaven hung that cresset on the night To guide their path across the sea. They saw it, and their hearts w^ere cheered, And by the luminous sign they steered, — Till, ranked on the Sicilian strand, They shouted freedom o'er the land. The people rose in strength sublime, In fragments fell the oppressor's chain ; The glories of the ancient time Revived for Sicily again. TIMOLEON. 1-41 Her children blessed Timoleon's name, City to city spoke his fame : The golden fruits of his success He reaped in joy and quietness. Yet vows of deadly hate were breathed Against the great deliverer's life, And Tyranny her falchion sheathed To grasp by stealth the assassin's knife. In Etna's shadow lies a town Where stood a temple of renown, — The ground was holy, every tree Was clothed round with sanctity. Here, after war, Timoleon dwelt ; Here, with a simple heart and pure, He laid aside his state, and felt The freedom of a mind secure. Unarmed, ungirt with guards, he moved Among the people whom he loved ; Serene in Virtue's generous trust, He bared his breast to Treason's thrust : For power in Innocence abides To bear it on through snares unharmed, And the firm soul that Conscience guides With mail of proof is always armed. 142 TDiOLEON. Hired to do a deed of shame, Two strangers to the city came ; A festival is near, — a time That yields occasion for the crime ; Timoleon to the temple goes, By sacrifice his vows to pay, And, in the solemn rite, his foes Their nobler victim swear to slay. Slow-stepping o'er the sacred ground, The victim comes with garlands crowned, The white-robed boys the hymn begin, Pipe, flute, and cymbal chiming in. They sing of Providence that guards The good by secret-working power, And righteous doom to guilt awards When strikes the inevitable hour. And they were there, — the hymn they heard, Yet no relenting thoughts were stirred, — They brace their hearts to hardy guilt, Their hands are on the poniard's hilt. Slow through the crowd, in crafty guise, They wind like vipers through the grass, — Their bloody thoughts watch from their eyes, And silent signs between them pass. TIMOLEOX. 143 Behind him now, a longer breath They draw against the act of death, — One moment, and a caitiff's knife Makes havoc of a noble life, When, swift as light, an arm concealed Has cloven the one with ghastly wound, — Hard by Timoleon's feet he reeled, And sank in death upon the ground. A shout of horror, angry cries Of vengeance, from the crowd arise, — While from the temple, with the red And reeking sword, the avenger fled Toward a neighbouring rocky height : The fellow-ruffian from his place Rushed to the altar, pale with fright, And clasped its ledge, and sued for grace. " But spare my life," the churl besought, " And I will open all the plot." The promise given : " This man," he said, " Who here before you lieth dead, Had joined me in a wicked vow Timoleon's blood this day to spill. What hand has dealt the avenging blow I know not, — Heaven has done its will ! ' 144 TIMOLEOX. Loud shouts are heard, — a gathering sound Proclaims the fugitive is found* The crowd comes thronging through the door,- The bloody weapon borne before, — And round by armed men beset, A youth comes on with tranquil pace ; He sees his victim at his feet, But not a change is on his face. Timoleon waves his hand, and stills The tumult that the temple fills, — All stand as in the hush of death. " Now, in the eye of Heaven," he saith, " And over this pale corse, declare Why he was slaughtered where he stood ; Look on him, as he lieth there, — Make answer to the cry of blood ! " " I hear the cry, and shall reveal That which will stifle its appeal. Listen and ponder, every one, What by my hand just Heaven hath done. Against the wretch, whose life I spilt, More righteous blood has long complained ; His soul was black with damning guilt, His hands my father's murder stained. TIMOLEOX. 145 " No grace was shown to hoary hairs, That heart was steeled against his prayers, — Leontium of his crime still keeps The record. Long I tracked his steps, And long my restless hopes were crushed ; But here, when first I saw him stand, The image of my father rushed Upon my heart, and nerved my hand ! " Some voices cried, " We know the youth, And vouch that what he tells is truth/' Timoleon heard him, and approved, And deeply was his spirit moved : Heaven's secret work he saw revealed, That Providence which sets the time, — And guides the hand to turn its shield On Virtue, and its sword on Crime. Deep is the judgment which conceals The movement of its mystic wheels, But Wisdom guides them in their grooves, And the same spirit in them moves. The far-connecting links are dim, Unseen the fine- vibrating springs, But the high end is praise to Him Whose finger shaped the dreadful rings. 146 STRATONICE. STEATONICE. Shrill the trumpet blew at evening underneath the castle-wall, Forth on the lofty rampart came a lady at the call ; She was fair and very stately, jewels glittered on her brow, And she looked with anxious glances on the armed host below ; On the laurelled arms and eagles, which had caught the slanting gleam, And the close blue spears of warriors winding far-off like a stream. In the van rode the proud Consul, his short falchion by his knee, And he looked up to the rampart with a graceful courtesy : " We have fought a bloody battle, and the king, thy lord, is fled, — On his track are many foemen for the price upon his head!" STRATONICE. 147 She heard out the dismal tidings, but she answered not a word, Though her long dark eyelash quivered at the mention of her lord. Then she thought of days departed, and her father old and lone, For she was a minstrel's daughter, and a lowly lot had known ; Through the fair Ionian hamlets his companion she had been, Till she sang before the monarch, and he took her for his queen. But far happier was the minstrel than the prince's jewelled bride, And she felt in that sad moment all the emptiness of pride. To her lips the draught of pleasure she had never lifted up, Had she known there lurked such poison at the bottom of the cup. 148 ATTILA AT AQUILEIA. ATTILA AT AQUILEIA. Oft, Aquileia ! from thy towers Hast thou beheld the foe Around thy ramparts close his powers, And bid his clarions blow ; But ne'er did fiercer foes advance Against thee, nor a direr chance Thy chequered fortunes e'er befall, Than when the swarming Orient hordes Of Attila unsheathed their swords Around thy leaguered wall. Yet high thine ancient courage swelled In danger's evil day, — Long thine undaunted burghers quelled The pride of that array ; And oft in battle's stormy shock, Like waves recoiling from the rock, Their legions from thy gates were driven; For aye when Freedom sounds alarm, The strength that nerves the patriot's arm Is strength supplied by Heaven. ATTILA AT AQUILF.IA. 149 But Famine came and Plague behiml, Those old and sworn allies, And many a child and mother pined Before the father's eyes ; Still, starting to the trumpet's call, The ready burghers thronged the wall ; In their heroic manhood mailed, Along the battlements they stand, With hollow eye and shrunken hand, But heart that never quailed. And now the third autumnal moon Shone sickly in its wane, Since first his tents the haughty Hun Had pitched upon the plain : His soaring hopes are sunken low, And quenched his valour's earlier glow, Which kindled at the clash of lance ; And many a voice is quick to blame The leader who has staked his fame Upon a desperate chance. What fierce tumultuous struggle now Convulsed that chieftain's soul ! The shame upon his swarthy brow Glowed crimson as a coal ; ] 50 ATTILA AT AQUILEIA. No sleep refreshed his spirit, till He bowed the iron of his will, And bade his soldiers, when the sound Of trump was heard at break of day, Strike tents and march in war-array From that ill-omened ground. The westering sun more softly glowed Through skies of tender blue, When forth the gloomy chieftain rode To take a farewell view Of walls so long assailed in vain ; His bravest captains in his train Eode sharing in their prince's grief, The camp was silent as they passed, And from their tents the warriors cast Sad glances on their chief. The mournful company rode on, Struck dumb by adverse fate, Until they reached a bastion That flanked a postern-gate. Here, on a mossy ledge that round The buttress ran, a stork had found Fit station for her yearly nest, — Safe in the graceful faith that stirred All hearts to love the trustful bird As man's peculiar guest. ATTILA AT AQUILEIA. 151 It seemed as if some sudden thought, On that fair eve, had come Into her heart to leave the spot Long chosen for her home, Through those calm, lucid skies to steer In quest of some serener sphere ; She soared aloft with plaintive cry, — Her nestlings followed at her scream, And soon all faded like a dream Far up the sunbright sky. The chieftain, pausing, watched their flight, " Behold, ye Huns ! " he cried, His dark eye flashing with the light Of its imperious pride ; " Behold the omen Heaven has sent To shame our cowardly intent : The stork, so faithful to her home, At last forsakes it, for some power Divine hath warned her that its hour Of overthrow hath come ! " The captains caught their leader's fire, As they had shared his shame, From heart to heart leaps ever higher The quick contagious flame ; 152 ATTILA AT AQUILEIA. From tent to tent the tidings glance, And every warrior grasps his lance, And shouts, " Unto the walls again ! Our ancient honour, tarnished long, Appeals for vengeance of the wrong, And cleansing from the stain ! " At early dawn, when o'er the hill The first light faintly blushed, The clarion shrieked alarum shrill, And forth their squadrons rushed Toward that fated bastion, From which the boding bird had flown. That parting scream still seems to sound, — The voice of doom, from Heaven it falls : " The way through these devoted walls Must here, ye Huns ! be found." Nor flinched the burghers, tried so long, In this disastrous hour, — Through blank and grassy streets they throng To man the leaguered tower. For altar and for hearth they stood, Pledged each to shed his patriot blood ; And well did each redeem the pledge, Till, in the furious surge that breaks Upon its base, the bastion shakes Beneath the ominous ledge. ATTILA AT AQUILEIA. 153 The stones are loosened in its side, The smoke obscures the sun, And ragged portals open wide, — The breach is stormed and won. Down from the steep the foemen poured, And each barbarian's bloody sword Took vengeance fearfully and well, Until the last of that brave band Died, wound in front, and sword in hand ; — Thus Aquileia fell ! 154 MOHAMMED AT DAMASCUS. MOHAMMED AT DAMASCUS. " The district of Damascus is the best watered and most pleasant of all Syria. The Arabs term it one of the four paradises of the East, and relate that Mohammed, as he viewed from an eminence the splendour of the city of which he wished to take possession, hesitated to enter it, because he knew that man can enjoy only one paradise, and he had resolved that his should not be in the earth. The three other paradises are the valley of Bawan, the river Obollah, and Sogd, near Samarcand." — Rosexmuller, — Geography of Central Asia. On the hill above Damascus stands the prophet, and looks down On the blooming groves and gardens that embower the pleasant town. Level on each tower and temple lies the mellow even- ing light,— Brazen domes and marble columns, tipped with crosses, flashing bright. MOHAMMED AT DAMASCUS. 1 55 Mingling chimes float softly upwards through the air in cadence sweet; On the ear the city voices in one hollow murmur beat. Xear him stand his turbaned Moslems, each with scymitar and lance, Raised to rush upon the city when the prophet signs advance. All's foam-flecked horse snorts loudly, champs the bit, and curves his ear; And his master cries — " prophet ! wherefore stand we gazing here? " Allah, of a truth, abandons this fair town into our hands ; " And for us its fame and glory have gone forth through all the lands. " Every sword but waits thy signal, and as soon as it is given, " Islam holds the loveliest city on which laughs the light of Heaven V •' ; Nay, my son!" the prophet answered, "had He willed we should go there, " Never to his children's glances would the place have seemed so fair. 156 MOHAMMED AT DAMASCUS. " He hath said that for His chosen blooms no paradise but one, — " In a sphere beyond the courses of our earthly stars and sun. " Unto those who look no higher may these happy seats be given ; " But let all the faithful people seek their heritage in Heaven ! " THE PRINCE AND THE WIDOW. 151 THE PBINCE AND THE WIDOW. Do some justice unto Islam, though the prophet you disown, There are truths even in the Koran, like the fossils in the stone. In the old Arabian legends there may still be clearly seen Praise of virtue, sense of honour, often delicate and keen. Many a Cadi has unravelled, with a subtil glance of wit, The most tangled skein of falsehood which a perjurer could knit ; Often has the Moollah stood in for the weak against the strong, — The Avcrter of the evil, or Avenger of the wrong ; There has often been true dealing in the Oriental gate, Which some ermined Christian judges might do well to imitate ; 158 THE PRINCE AND THE WIDOW. There the balance has been steady, there the sword has had an edge, And the Vizier feared the Dervish who sate begging by his hedge. When the Cross in Spain was broken, and the Moors her sceptre swayed, In his royal town a Caliph a fair stately palace made ; Pleasant was the wide-arched mansion, with its quaintly- figured walls, And the silver-sprinkling fountains in its marble-paven halls. Arabesques rilled every chamber with a wild fantastic grace, And the Koran's golden cyphers made a mystery of the place ; Rich the tracery of each lattice, carven sharp with master-craft, And the mouldings wrought like lace-work on each tall and slender shaft. Sudden glimpses of trees waving, with a freshness to the eye, Came through pillared courts all open to the soft blue summer sky ; And around it were sweet gardens, sunny clumps of scented bloom, Dusky umbrage-shadowing alleys, with a cool delicious gloom. THE PRIXCE AND THE WIDOW. 1j9 Near the palace a poor Widow had a small paternal field, Where the Prince a fair pavilion for his pleasure wished to build, — Only this one charm was wanting to complete it to his heart, — But no bribe could tempt the widow with her little plot to part. Wearied with his vain entreaties, he at last put forth his hand, And raised up his dome of pleasure on the violated land. Weak and friendless was the widow, — her oppressor proud and strong, — But she went before the Cadi, and bore witness to the wrong. On a day the Prince was walking in the garden planted there, With a joyous heart beholding his pavilion shining fair, The old Cadi then came kneeling, and implored, in lowly mood, Leave to fill a sack beside him from the soil on which they stood. It was granted, and he filled it ; then the old man, turning round, Asked the Caliph to assist him while he raised it from the ground. 160 THE PRINCE AND THE WIDOW. Smiled the Prince at the entreaty, thinking all was done in mirth, Raised the sack, but dropped full quickly his strange burden to the earth. " It is heavy," said the Cadi, " and thou canst not bear the weight ; " Yet, 'tis but a little portion of the widow's whole estate. " Side by side with that poor widow must thou stand, at Allah's bar ; " And in that majestic presence, prince and beggar equal are. " And if thou, Prince ! art burdened with a load of earth so small, " What wilt thou then answer Allah, when he charges thee with all?" The sharp arrow reached his conscience, and atoning for his guilt, Like a king, he gave the widow the pavilion he had built. BAALBEK. 101 BAALBEK. Upon the lowest slope of that steep ridge Which strides across all Syria, and confronts The stately length of Lebanon, where the gorge Of a deep valley opens on the plain, A city stands, built in the ancient time By Solomon. The wandering Arab tells How crowds of workmen startled the dull waste "With clamour, and the sound of axes rung Far on the wind, as temple, wall, and tower Rose, not without unearthly help, compelled By vigil and relentless talisman, Till all was ended, and the snowy gleam Of marble brightened the grey wilderness. Into its wealthy marts the East long poured Her frankincense, and gold, and ivory, And sweet crassated gums. Here haughty Borne Sank vanquished on his captive's breast, and slept Away his manhood in voluptuous dreams. Long strings of loaded camels slowly passed 162 BAALBEK. Along the encumbered ways. At these choked wells The dusky Indian and the blue-eyed Graul Knelt side by side and drank. And pilgrims came From the far shadow of the Pyramids To worship here, and pass with dazzled eyes Through pillared vestibules within the fane Which hallowed the fair City of the Sun ! As like a glittering vision it arose, And beautified the solitary place, Like one it faded. Thus upon the blue And tingling desert-haze, the wanderer sees Dome, battlement, and golden temple tall, The phantasm of a shining city, flush, And as he gazes vanish. The wide courts Echo no voice nor footfall; the wild wind, That ruin-haunting minstrel, sobs and wails Upon his fitful pipe. No more at morn The millstone cheerily murmurs, nor at eve, While the rich saffron light of sunset ebbs, And stars assemble up the rosy air, Are lamps seen twinkling through the lattices. In the white light the pillars cast their slant, Fantastic shadows, chequered as they lean, Or lie upreared in precious wreck along The parching soil. The small acanthus twines Around its chiselled foliage on the crown BAALBEK. 1G3 i Of fluted columns. The dry wind-sown weed Hath split the morticed friezes, that still cut The blue air with their sharp and delicate edge, And on the triglyph, fallen in the shade, The oleander sheds its crimson flowers. Time his pale daughter Silence, by the hand, Hath led into the shrine. In the dim light, That through a crevice flecks the deep recess, You see the virgin on a pedestal Unmoving sit, her veil half o'er her brow, Still gazing outwards with a listless eye, And pressing one thin finger on her lip. Isis, and Horus ! honoured long In antique Memphis, where the Nile flows dark Under the temples, and in after time Here worshipped, whither are ye fled? Within These roofless courts, whose carven niches stand So richly fretted by immortal Art, But vacant of their gods, we yet may trace Your monogram engraven in porphyry Or bronze, — the winged orb, clasped in the coils Of serpents. But the symbol lias outlived The faith. A cypher to the elder world, With deepest mystery fraught, — an awful sign, That shadowed the eternal, — it remains, When the old faith has mouldered whence it sprung, A link between the dead world and our own, — 164 BAALBEK. A fragment washed upon the beach of Time From the great shipwreck of a foundered creed. And yet the pulse of life still feebly beats Under the shroud of Death, — a low small sound That stirs him not, but murmurs in his ear, And soothes it with the memory of the pride Which he hath so abased. These tottering mosques, With their low domes and slender minarets, From which the old Muezzin shrilly calls To prayer, — these huts of dark-red stone, Built like the swallow's nest in shady nooks Round palaces and temples, — and the voice Of women drawing water at the well, Still speak of life, but empty and forlorn, — Such life as makes decay more desolate. Less sad it is to view these lonely forms And relics of the Past, when nought recalls Man's presence to the mind, when all is still As in a city of the dead. Go forth, And stand within its porches when the heat Of sultry noon has burned the languid wind Out of the air, and as you look upon The beauty and magnificence of old, Silence will take unto itself a voice. The lizard rustling in the stones, the unseen Cicala chirping shrill, the small green snake That basks upon the sand, or glances quick BAALBEK. 1G5 From some cool chink beneath a levelled shaft, — Each sound and sight of Nature, and the life Its little generations lead amidst The buried pride of man, move the deep heart To sadness, charged with monitory thought. We listen to the voice which tells in tones, Pensive yet not unpleasing, of the course Of Life and Death, Corruption and Decay, — The inevitable necessity and law 'Which binds all things that live and are beneath The circuit of the stars. And such may seem The burden of the lisping river that winds Among the mounds of ruin, and still steeps The roots of odorous thickets on its banks, And golden-fruited trees. High over head, Above the dark umbrageous walnut-trees That gird the far-seen city as a hedge, The temple, like a glorious dream, upspires Into the lucid air. A tender charm Invests its lofty station, as apart, And high uplifted o'er the abodes of men, It stands serene, and bright, and beautiful, As Faith stands over Time. It wears decay As its familiar garb, and not without A mild, redeeming loveliness, which leads The mind into the track of thoughts that rise To Heaven, and that ethereal Temple built 166 BAALBEK. Of light immaculate, whose radiant walls The unwinding cycles shake not, — whose clear vault No vapours breathed from earthly turbulence, No shadow, of a restless spirit born, Nor fleeting mist, can stain. Around is waste, And change, and vanity, — the things above Endure, and are perpetual. The same sun Shines on these marble architraves, the stars Look down as brightly on these shrunken heaps As when they stood erect. Still, as before, Through these aerial pillars gleams the blue And liquid sky, and the pale glistening snows That plume the towering crest of Lebanon. THE RUINED CHAPEL. 1G7 THE KUIXED CHAPEL. NOSSA SENHOBA DA ESPERANCA. The same hills stand around it, and it lends A beauty to the spot it graced of yore ; The old winds haunt it still ; each season bends The light and shadow round it as before ; But Time hath swathed it in his garb of grey ; It feels the load of years, and slowly wastes away. How many suns have gone up that fair sky, Since first its builders reared it, stone by stone ! How oft has Midnight, with her star-blue eye, Beheld it in the valley dim and lone ! Age has erased its date, and it appears To grey-haired men the same as in their childish years. Yet what they heard in childhood still they tell : How in the ancient time a shepherd found An image of the Virgin, by a well That gushed within the enclosure of this ground ; And how to mystic auguries this gave scope, Until a chapel rose,—- Our Lady's Shrine of Hope. 1-68 THE RUINED CHAPEL. Then rung the small bell at the dawn of day, And duly as the waning light was pale Upon the peaks, its chimes were borne away In mellowing cadences far up the vale : The goatherd heard it on the uplands bare, And crossed his swarthy brow, and said his evening prayer. And down these mountain paths, when Sabbath rest Was on the valleys, worshippers were seen Trooping obedient to the mild behest ; Or on the ways that wind through chestnuts green. ! if with erring rites they bent the knee, Be theirs the guilt who sealed the Word that should be free. But Time's bell rung a dirge, and now has ceased The solemn chant, — the sweet aerial hymn ; Fallen is the altar where the vested priest, While lights through odorous smoke were glimmer- ing dim, To act the dread Atonement fondly strove, As if the Cross were vain, and Calvary's bleeding Love! The wild weeds rustle on the arches tall, The wind-sown grass springs rank upon the floor, The gadding bramble muffles court and wall, And nets its thorny curtain in the door, THE RUINED CHAPEL. 1G9 And moss-stained stones, sunk deep into the mould, Have here, since first they fell, had leisure to grow old. Yet, ancient pile ! the elements that waste Deal gently, for they soften and atone, — A milder beauty they have round thee cast, — With richer tints have crusted every stone : It is a silent power that Time employs, Which veils his certain end, and decks what he destroys. Therefore thou enviest not the leafy trees Nor the old hills, which, with a steadfast eye, Confront Time's lifted scythe through centuries, Knowing that when they perish, he must die : Since out of this slow waste a pensive grace Has grown, which beautifies this solitary place. For all Decay tends ever towards peace ; Deep at its heart lives Silence, and the rest Which Nature by continual ministries Breathes to us out of her maternal breast ; And here the same sweet influence soothes and thrills My spirit, as among the lonely woods and hills. The white-towered city far below me lies, Beyond it spreads the calm, blue Libyan Sea ; And on the furthest limit of the skies, A long, low, purple cloud hangs hazily, M 170 THE RUINED CHAPEL. That seems, thus dim with light, a summer isle, For which Heaven's festive face doth ever keep a smile But when on all earth's glory will there be A consecration ? when will promised days With temple-light illumine land and sea ? Even here, as through the future time I gaze, A hopeful omen rises in my heart, A vision cheers the way by which I now depart. Decaying as thou art, thou may'st still stand To hear the sound of Christian psalms once more, To see a purer faith exalt the land, A holier ministration than before; Thus, by a blessing to thy youth denied, Thy latest age may be serenely glorified. . LINES WRITTEN IN A FRANCISCAN CONVENT. 171 LINES WRITTEN IN A FRANCISCAN CONVENT. How oft from this small casement high, When chanted was the vesper-psalm, The lonely monk has raised his eye Toward that heaven so pure and calm, And watched the moonlight showering pale Upon the church and trees below, And heard the soft and wandering wail Of waters in perpetual flow ! One looked, but sight so beautiful Awoke no answering thrill in him ; And, with a heart benumbed and dull, He saw as if his eye was dim. No charm to him, no solemn sound, Had waves, or winds, or clouds, or stars, — His range of thought the cloister bound, And in his soul he wore its bars. 172 LINES WRITTEN IN A FRANCISCAN CONVENT. Perchance, some mind of finer mould Has gazed up that clear, starry air, And seen the golden gates unfold, And wings of angels waving fair, — In trance beheld the Virgin nigh, Heard voices sweet and heavenly sounds,- "While, smiling on his votary, St Francis showed his mystic wounds. One, with a heart of pensive power, Once scathed by Passion's fiery glow, May here have stood, and blessed the hour His lips pronounced the awful vow. Prom Envy, Pride, and Care, release He may have found in cloistered walls, And felt, or fancied, his a peace That flies from Pleasure's gilded halls. How many felt, in darker mood, The sting of some unholy thirst ; And, with a madness in the blood, The irrevocable error cursed, That forced them from the world afar, But bound them to a worse control, As if the cord * and scapular Could charm the fiends that vex the soul ! * The cord is the distinguishing badge of the Order of St Frances. LINES WRITTEN IN A FRANCISCAN CONVENT. 173 Their minds roamed saddening through the past To youth, with Hope's bright fancies flushed, Ere clouds the prospect overcast, Ere Care the opening blossom crushed ; Then weary days and nights forlorn, The struggling mind, the sickening heart, Till, in the wasting strife outworn, All earthly ties they tore apart. They sought the fenced, the holy ground, — Behind them died the world's vain din, — But soon, alas ! too soon, they found That they had brought the world within. Out from its haunts they freely passed, And thus they hoped its power to foil ; Out of the heart the world to cast, — This was the duty, this the toil. So Jerome through the streets of Rome Could wander with an alien eye, Amidst its splendour seek no home, And smile at all its luxury ; But in the wilds, the singing bird Brought back Home's voice on every wind, And every leaf, that idly stirred, The thought of friends left far behind. 174 LINES WRITTEN IN A FRANCISCAN CONVENT. Some died in hoary age, some young, Their hearts grief-cankered at the core, — And bells were rung, and psalms were sung, When opened was the chancel floor ; They moulder there, that ghastly band, — Their shadows glimmer through the gloom, - While I, a stranger in the land, Muse mournfully above their tomb. THE JARDIM DE SERRA. 17<3 THE JAEDIM DE SERRA: (the garden of the mountains.) Sweet fold of the mountains ! when first from the height, I saw thy deep forests all flooded with light, So bright and so sudden thy loveliness smiled That it seemed by enchantment to bloom in the wild. Thy clouds of soft umbrage lay witchingly fair In the clear mellow depth of that crystalline air ; And through trees interlacing stretched many a glade, Where the sunlight fell chequered by masses of shade. From the rich flush of garden and woodland, the eye Eoamed up to blue ridges cut sharp in the sky, And a brook flowed deep-sunken through thickets of green, With a murmur that pensively blent with the scene. I lingered till sunset bathed all in its glow, And the soft-stealing shadow crept up from below, And a lone bird was warbling its liquid farewell, As the star of the gloaming rose over the dell. 176 THE JARDIM DE SERRA. When far from thee, fair valley ! I oft shall retrace The scenes which no time from the heart can efface, And Memory will love, though I see thee no more, Te revive the sweet vision that charmed me before. Yet not amidst grandeur and peace, such as thine, Would I dream that true happiness e'er could be mine, — Not here, could the choice on myself be bestowed, Not in Earth's fairest spot, would I fix my abode. The grace and the beauty which round him may smile The heart of the pilgrim may sometimes beguile, — He may linger a moment, and say it is fair, But it is not his home, and his rest is not there! THE VILLAGE FESTIVAL. 177 THE VILLAGE FESTIVAL. The bells ring out, — the villagers Are keeping feast to-day, Gay groups are winding through the vines In pilgrim- like array, — Some singing to the viols shrill That are tinkling on the way. The banner on the chapel-tower Droops down the flag- staff tall, The shadows of the leafy planes Are quivering round the wall, And the spirit of a joyous time Is brooding over all. But Pain and Sorrow tread behind The dancing steps of Joy, And the shadow of their presence will Each golden hour alloy : Hard by the careless throng I see A mother with her boy. 178 THE TILLAGE FESTIVAL. She sits before her cottage door, Beneath a shady vine, — In vain to her the music sounds, In vain the sun doth shine ; — She only sees her little child In mortal sickness pine. He lieth moaning on her knee, While she would soothe his pain, — There is fever seething in the blood, And throbbing in the vein ; — Alas ! that little wasted cheek Will never bloom again. His voice no more at noon and eve Will ring beside the hearth, — No more his laugh her heavy heart Will lighten with its mirth ; — His little joys have lain, alas ! Within a narrow girth. Soon will a sad array be seen Slow- winding down the dell, — Before the priest the surpliced boy Will swing his funeral bell ; And the people at their doors will say, " 'Tis little Manuel ! " THE VILLAGE FESTIVAL. 17!) Wherefore, with vacant eye she sees The folk pass to and fro, — She looks, but heeds not who they be, Xor how they come and go ; — She only feels upon her heart The heavy gripe of woe. In after days, when of this feast She hears the neighbours tell, She will be silent, but the time She will remember well; — " That summer," she will think, " I lost My darling Manuel ! n To her this grief will be a date Through all the coming years, — A pillar on her way, to which She will often turn with tears ; — How many such a monument Along Life's path appears ! For the traces left by Joy are faint, — His step is light and free ; But the footprints of our Suffering, So deeply stamped they be, That they never wear out from the sands Of wreck-strewn Memory. 180 THE CHARCOAL-BURNERS. THE CHAECOAL-BUENEES. A lofty mountain-wall, that parts Two valleys fair and green, We scaled, and stood in purer air, "Where winds were blowing keen, — It was as if, by sudden glance, Two separate worlds were seen. One with a cloudless sky, and filled With sunlight to the sea, — The other, dim with surging mists, That drifted loose and free, And cast fantastic shadows down On rock, and stream, and tree. Dark chestnut-trees, festooned with vines, Stood thick in either dell, — The goat in fragrant thickets browsed And tinkled his small bell, And from some mountain* cove, unseen, The goatherd blew his shell. THE CHARCOAL-BURNERS. 181 Through the rich greenery below Were sprinkled quiet eots, Each fenced by bristling spires of maize, Or yams in marshy plots, While mulberry, and quince, and fig, Besprent the sunnier spots. To us it seemed some happy haunt Of freedom and content, — A little world, shut out from care And all disquietment ; So Fancy pictured, when a group Came up the slow ascent. With toiling steps they gained the height, A weary group of four, — A care-worn man, on whom the weight Of years was pressing sore, And younger forms, untimely bent Beneath the loads they bore. Their heavy burdens they unbound, And stopped a while to rest, — One a mere child, who shrunk from sight, With girlish fear possessed, — A smile strayed o'er the old mans face, When we the child addressed. 182 THE CHARCOAL-BURNERS. They had been in the woods, he said, From early morning-light, To watch their fires, amidst the smoke, With bleared and aching sight ; And, with their loads, a weary way Must go ere fall of night. Each day's hard labour barely earned The needful means of life, — With Care and Poverty they waged A sharp and wasting strife ; And sorrows keener still were his, — He had a dying wife. A mournful story, that dispelled My fancy's idle dream, — A tale of want, and grief, and care, — Life's one unchanging theme, That makes the world a wilderness, Whatever it may seem. And so the scene, to us so fair, For them no beauty had, — Nor ever had they felt its power To make the spirit glad ; With its dark drapery the mind All festive Nature clad. THE CHARCOAL-BURNERS. 183 They stood with lustreless, dull eyes Amidst the works of God, — Earth bloomed in vain for them, in vain Heaven cast its joy abroad ; — Their minds were struck with blight, their hearts Were in the dust they trod. Beyond the daily strife with want, No care, no thought had they, — No higher claim could break the spell Of this habitual sway ; — And thus, from infancy to age, One life had worn away. From day to day, the dim-eyed mind Its narrow circle paced, — Its springs had rusted from disuse, Its powers had run to waste, And, line by line, the godlike sign That stamped it was defaced. Nor, musing thus, do I condemn - Its misery, but mourn That Care can so corrode the mind, And leave the heart forlorn ; — Let man unveil the woes of man In sorrow, not in scorn. 184 A VINTAGE SKETCH. A VINTAGE SKETCH. The festive joy of vintage fills the land, — The treaders in the wine-press, treading long, Lighten their labours with alternate song ; And not less happy is that high-perched band, Who glean with quick and never-ceasing hand The full-swollen clusters, buried deep among The chestnut leaves. An inspiration strong, Of genial mirth, makes every heart expand. Pleasant it is to mark in days like these How lightly Childhood wears its golden chain, To watch these boys, in playful rivalries, Challenge each other in the leafy lane, "Who highest o'er the windy poplar trees Will sling the unripe orange from the cane. EVENING PICTURE. 185 EVENING PICTUKE. Over the hill-edge ripples the warm light, — One level ray along the sprouting vines Gleams like a seraph's spear. The dusky lines Of the far woods grow shapeless on the height, Where the slow mists fold up their fleeces white, Now flecked with purple. O'er that cloud of pines The sky to clearest spirit of air refines, And a star settles trembling on the sight. Cool winds are rustling downwards to the seas, To worn, homefaring men benignly given. From the soft glooms of church-encircling trees, Fast darkening in the shadows of the even, The small bells sprinkle pensive cadences, And Earth is peacefully atoned with Heaven ! N 186 PORTO SANTO. POETO SANTO, AS SEEN PROM THE NORTH OF MADEIRA. This island was the first that was colonised by the Portuguese ad- venturers of the fifteenth century, and is on this account remarkable as having led them into that brilliant track of discovery, which, at a later period, opened up to the mother country the riches of Brazil and India. Columbus married a daughter of Bartolomeo Perestrello, the first governor of the island, and one of the ablest navigators of the age. After his marriage, he lived for some time in Porto Santo, and the ac- cess he thereby obtained to Perestrello' s charts and journals may be supposed to have strengthened his resolution to at- tempt that enterprise which made him, but not till twenty years after, the discoverer of a new world. The sun is dim, — upon the sea A sultry mist hangs heavily, — The water, air, and sky Wear each the same dull, sober gleam : So that one element they seem, Confused upon the eye. PORTO SANTO. 187 Beyond these dusky clumps of pine, The sea slopes upward to the line Of light that streaks the west ; The waves are murmuring faint and far, And heaving languidly, — they are The very type of rest. Glance northward through the haze, and mark That shadowy island floating dark Amidst the seas serene ; It seems some fair enchanted isle, Like that which saw Miranda smile When Ariel sang unseen. O happy, after all their fears, Were those old Lusian mariners Who hailed that land the first, — Upon whose seared and aching eyes, With an enrapturing surprise, Its bloom of verdure burst ! Their anchor in a creek, shell-paven, They dropped, — and hence " The Holy Haven" They named the welcome land ; The breezes strained their masts no more, — And all around the sunny shore Was summer, laughing bland. 188 PORTO SANTO. They wandered on through green arcades, Where fruits were hanging in the shades, And blossoms clustering fair ; Strange gorgeous insects shimmered by, And from the brakes sweet minstrelsy Entranced the woodland air. Years passed, and to the island came A mariner of unknown name, And grave Castilian speech ; The spirit of a great emprise Aroused him, and with flashing eyes He paced the pebbled beach. What time the sun was sinking slow, And twilight spread a rosy glow Around its single star, His eye the western sea's expanse Would search, creating by its glance Some cloudy land afar. He saw it when translucent Even Shed mystic light o'er Earth and Heaven, Dim shadowed on the deep ; His fancy tinged each passing cloud With the fine phantom, and he bowed Before it in his sleep. PORTO SANTO. 189 He hears greybearded sailors tell, How the discoveries befell That glorify their time ; "And forth I go, my friends," he cries, " To a severer enterprise Than tasked your glorious prime. " Time was when these green isles, that stud The expanse of this familiar flood, Lived but in fancy fond. Earth's limits, — think you here they are? Here has the Almighty fixed his bar, Forbidding glance beyond ? " Each shell is murmuring on the shore, And w T ild sea-voices evermore Are sounding in my ear ; I long to meet the eastern gale, And with a free and stretching sail Through virgin seas to steer. "Two galleys trim, some comrades stanch, And I with hopeful heart would launch Upon this shoreless sea. Till I have searched it through and through, And seen some far land looming blue, My heart will not play free." 190 PORTO SANTO. Forth fared he through the deep to rove, — For months with angry winds he strove, And passions fiercer still, Until he found the long-sought land, And leaped upon the savage strand With an exulting thrill. The tide of life now eddies strong Through that broad wilderness, where long The eagle fearless flew ; Where forests waved, fair cities rise, And science, art, and enterprise, Their restless aims pursue. There dwells a people, at whose birth The shout of Freedom shook the earth, — Whose fame through all the lands Has travelled, — and before whose eyes, Bright with their glorious destinies, A proud career expands. I see their life by passion wrought To intense endeavour, and my thought Stoops backward in its reach To him who, in that early time, Revolved his enterprise sublime On Porto Santo's beach. PORTO SANTO. 191 Methinks that solitary soul Held, in its ark, this radiant roll Of human hopes upfurled, — That there in germ this vigorous life Was sheathed, which now in earnest strife Is working through the world. Still on our way, with care-worn face, Abstracted eye, and sauntering pace, May pass one such as he, Whose mind heaves with a secret force, That shall be felt along the course Of far Futurity. Call him not fanatic or fool, Thou Stoic of the modern school ; Columbus-like, his aim Points forward with a true presage, And nations of a later age Mav rise to bless his name. 192 the gold-seeker's song. THE GOLD-SEEKEE'S SONG. Ye have heard what stirring thoughts Roused the venturous souls of old, When Jason and his Argonauts Sought the fleece of gold. Many a gallant youth of Greece, High in hope, went o'er the foam, Weary sought the shadowy fleece, Weary wandered home. Brighter than old poet's dreams, We have found the region blest, By the Sacramento's streams, In the desolate West. We have heard the golden river, Chiming with metallic sound, — Rapturous music which doth ever Make the spirit bound. the gold-seeker's song. 193 We have seen the level prairie Sown broadcast with heavy gold, — Found the glittering realm of Faery, And the half not told. Channels with its seeds are paven, Sands are sparkling with its light, And the luminous land is graven With its cyphers bright. 'Tis like dew upon the waste, Here in scales and there in grains, And the rocks are interlaced With its ruddy veins. Come, then, to these yellow sands, Ye who drudge in sweat of brow, And no more through barren lands Urge the thankless plough. Ye who ere the dawning rise When the bell of the factory tolls, — Ye who blear and sear your eyes Over glowing coals, — To these golden shores repair ; — Who would grudge the time or toil, When each mattock-stroke lays bare Heaps of glorious spoil ? 194 the gold-seeker's song. Ye whose names the Law has scored, Ye on whom Opinion rails, Come where Justice drops her sword, And Fortune loads her scales. Tis a land without Bastiles, Law or lawyer, priest or sage, — Where Time rings in with merry peals Another golden age. 'Tis the grave of all degree, Each man is his fellow's peer, High and low, and bond and free, Change their places here. Free from watch, and safe from warden, Ye may wander where ye please, And no dragon keeps the garden Of the Hesperides. RHYMES OF A VIGIL. 195 RHYMES OF A VIGIL. Crimine quo merui, juvenis placidissime Divum, Quove errore miser, donis ut solus egerem, Sonine, tuis ? STATIUS. Weary heart ! what makes thee beat Such a loud and rapid measure ? Why this wild and feverish heat, Ever burning in the breast, Robbing day of all its pleasure, Quiet night of all its rest ? Tell me what unwonted weight Hath upon thee pressed of late, That thou should'st thine office do With this quick, uneasy motion, While the blood leaps to and fro Like the tide of some vext ocean. When I read, or when I think, When I hover on the brink Of slumber, wherefore dost thou start And flutter so, my weary heart ? 196 RHYMES OF A VIGIL. Why within my bosom bound With this dull and heavy sound, Like the throbbing hollow bell That rings out a funeral knell ? Why dost thou, dewy Sleep ! Ever thus at distance keep ; Have I broken thy sweet law, Sweet to soul, and sweet to sense, That thou should'st so far withdraw Thy bland, refreshing influence ? When I was a careless boy, Breathing the free air of joy, By the first star lit to bed, When my childish prayer was said ; Then, with quick, benign surprise, Thou would'st fall upon my eyes, As the soft and soundless dew Lights upon the violets blue, — As the small and murmuring rain, Wept from summer clouds, which stain The blue heavens an hour, and pass, Having cheered the thirsty grass. Then, or e'er I was aware, Thou hadst caught me in thy snare, Lulled me with thy drowsy wings ; From thy deep, soul-charming springs Sprinkled over every sense An oblivious influence ; RHYMES OF A VIGIL. 197 Called up lovely shapes and bright To bewitch me all the night, — Store of radiant apparitions, Castles, forests, shifting visions, Flushed with gleams from Eastern skies, Shifting ever to the chime Of melodious phantasies, From the Faery land that lies In that spicy Persian clime, And the old enchanted time, When the Caliphs in their state In Bagdad, by the Tigris, sate. Happy times ! gone like a breath, — Blissful nights for ever ended, Visions, voices, marvels flown, Days of Innocence and Faith, When the mystery of Death Was as yet uncomprehended, Because Sin was yet unknown ! Happy ignorance, that goes From the creature as it grows ! Like the bloom from off the rose, Like the brightness from the eye, Like the glory from the sky, And the music of the stream, And the witchery of the dream, — All that in Life's morning glow- Once we saw, but see not now : 198 RHYMES OF A VIGIL. All that perishes in the strife Of this care-corroded life, All that Wisdom from us takes As its tribute, all that makes Childhood's world a paradise (Rich in each resource to bless). To the weed-sown wilderness That around our Manhood lies ! When I was a student free, With an earnest ecstacy, Digging in the mines of old For the brave barbaric gold, From which Ethnic sages wrought Rare creations of high thought, When I took a lofty pleasure To lay bare their hidden treasure, — Thirsted for that generous juice Which the Poets of old days, In their passion-haunted lays (For all generations' use), Stored and sealed to inspire Nimble wits with its fine fire, — I could hold at scorn thy power ; Many a joyous midnight hour Would I rob thee of, — in vain Wouldst thou murmur and complain,- And, in wrath at my disdain, RHYMES OF A VIGIL. 199 Thou wouldst strive and struggle hard, With some well-contrived device, To throw my spirit off its guard, And steal on me by surprise. Thou wouldst cast some shadow fair O'er my mind, — into the air Breathe a melting drowsy charm My faint senses to disarm ; In my ear wouldst whisper bland, — Thy constraining gentle hand On my eyelids thou wouldst press, — And a sense of weariness Through my languid limbs infuse By the virtue of thy dews, — And a mist would swim before My vision till I read no more. Sleep ! thou, then, wert never coy, — In the middle of my joy, Even when thou wast not sought And most alien to my thought, Thou wouldst come, unloved, unbidden ; Xow thou wilt not come though chidden. I repent me of the slight Done to thee in days of yore, — Days now ended evermore ! — And from under this great blight Which I dreamt not would befall me, Xow, O Sleep ! I vainly call thee. 200 RHYMES OF A VIGIL. Wilt thou not, O power benign, Soothe me with thy anodyne, And, in this extremity, Cancel the severe decree Which in anger thou hast passed? Wilt thou still refuse to cast O'er my sense that gentle rain, Which will ease me of my pain ? SONNET, 201 SOXXET. Oft when the moon has sunk beneath the night, Nor gladdens heaven with her golden eve, A fitful meteor burning in the sky May bring the outline of his path in sight To some belated shepherd. By its light The wold is brightened, the far hills seem nigh At whose dark feet his lonely hut doth lie, And thankfully he guides his steps aright : So 'when the world, beneath a weight of doom, Seemed reeling on through darkness, vague and blind, Some transitory brightness might illume The great interlunation of its mind, — A sweet presentiment, that through the gloom Some better light should rise to bless mankind. 202 A FANCY. A FANCY. Below me spreads a wide and lonely beach, The ripple washing higher on the sands, — A river that has come from far-off lands Is coiled behind in many a shining reach ; But now it widens, and its banks are bare, — It settles as it nears the moaning sea ; An inward eddy checks the current free, And breathes a briny dampness through the air. Beyond the waves, low vapours through the skies Were trailing, like a battle's broken rear ; But, smitten by pursuing winds, they rise, And the blue slopes of a far coast appear, With shadowy peaks, on which the sunlight lies Uplifted in aerial distance clear. CLAVERHOUSE. 203 CLAVEEHOUSE. Stand pilloried for ever on the stage Of infamy, and bear to latest time The blood -red superscription of thy crime, That men, Graeme ! may wonder at the age Which gendered thee. "What generous heart could wage Such war with peasants, maidens in their prime, And grey-haired pastors ? Who so basely climb To greatness, linking such a heritage Of foul dishonour to a noble name ? But thy memorial perished : childless thou Wert written in the land. Thy evil fame Has smirched the gilded bauble on thy brow : And the blind zeal which would exalt thee now Embalms corruption, and must share its shame. 204 THE PICTURE OF A MARTYRDOM. THE PICTUEE OF A MAETYEDOM. Meek, suffering saint ! in holy peacefulness Thou standest, budding to thy virgin prime, Fair as a lily of thy southern clime Erect against the rain. Thy Lord doth bless And help thee in this hour : the sharp distress Even unto death, which tries thee, doth sublime Thy maiden modesty before the time Into a graver air of saintliness. With a sweet smile thou liftest thy pure eyes Heavenward, the while these glowing pincers tear Thy dove-like bosom. In thy golden hair The lictor's hand is twisted. With surprise Thy brutal judge looks on. But in the air Thou seest the angel waiting with the prize. THE GRAVE OF DODDRIDGE AT LISBON. 205 THE GRAVE OF DODDRIDGE AT LISBON. Ix that fair city by the Tagus' side, I stood beside the grave which holds in trust, Until the resurrection of the just, The ashes of a spirit glorified. I thought of how he lived, and how he died, And how a sacred reverence guards the dust, And keeps unwasted by sepulchral rust A name with Heaven and holiness allied. A bird was singing in the cypress-tops, — It seemed an echo of the voice which led The soul to rise to its immortal hopes, Repeating still the words on earth it said : And gleams of light were trembling on the slopes, Like angels' shadows watching round the dead. 206 RUINS OF CARTEIA. RUINS OF CAETEIA. A PH<ENICIAN CITY NEAR GIBRALTAR, SUPPOSED TO BE THE ANCIENT TARSHISH. A lonely grange that crests a gentle hill, Upon the margin of a bright blue bay, And a few scattered stone- heaps, mossed and grey, Are all that keep thy site in memory still, Proud daughter of proud Tyre ! Her wealth and skill Adorned thee for the Roman's sterner sway ; But now on both, alike in your decay, The careless fisher spreads his nets at will. Yet far less sad to me this silent scene Than such a life as lingers still beneath The stately towers where Rome once sat as queen, — The mask without the spark of vital breath, — The spirit rusted, like a blade once keen, And some dim gilding left upon the sheath. THE BAY OF BARCELONA. 207 THE BAY OF BARCELONA. 'Tis evening, and the thunder-cloud Sinks spent behind the western hill, The light has rent its lurid shroud, And breezes waft it at their will ; The golden rays of sunset stream On castled mount and turret srrev, The clear air quivers in the gleam That falls upon the glassy bay. The scattered barks to land return, Their toils forgot in sight of home, — They bravely dared the lowering morn, And clove their path through mist and foam ; At noon the cloudy north-wind blew, The answering waves rose wild and high, And drifting vapours swept from view The landmarks sacred to the eve ; — 208 THE BAY OF BARCELONA. But now, like sea-birds, to the land At even they flock with snowy wings, And cloudless skies and breezes bland Breathe fresh and genial welcomings. The sails reflect the brimming light, And, as the shallops onward glide, A softened shadow, dim and white, Floats far beneath them in the tide. How blest the life which, in its prime, Some testing ill hath bravely borne, To hail a tranquil evening-time, And skies that wear the tints of morn ! But woe to him who wakes at last From listless dreams and false repose, To see at even the coming blast, And life first darkening at its close ! CORTOXA. 209 CORTOXA. WnERE hoar Cortona crests a mountain lone, Fenced by the massy walls Etruria reared, Ere yet Rome's straggling cabins had appeared By the low hills that were to be her throne, I looked o'er plains of richest verdure shown In the still clearness of the summer air, Far-surging waves of woodland, hamlets fair, And storied castles, wildly overgrown. The windless heat was settling on the broad Sweet champaign, mellowing all its fruitage green, From sharp Monte Pulciano, with a load Of vines upon its slopes, to thy serene And silent shore, O crystal Thrasymene ! Where olives fringe the rill* that ran with blood. * The Sanguinetto. 210 INCISA. INCISA, THE SCENE OF PETRARCH'S BOYHOOD, NEAR FLORENCE. That hour abides with me, as doth a trance Of pleasure, when, by Arno's wave reclined, I watched the poplars twinkling in the wind, And the quick martlet through the arches glance Across the yellow stream ; or heard, perchance, Some vintage-maiden sing along the shore A song that sweeter seemed when Xature wore So sweet a smile upon her countenance. It was where, 'midst her vines and olives pale, Incisa sits, rejoicing that she gave His childhood's home to Petrarch. The low wail Of the immortal lover, from his grave Beyond the Po, came up the Tuscan wave, And faintly murmured through the quiet vale. DISCOVERY OF THE NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 211 DISCOVERY OF THE NOETH-WEST PASSAGE. i. Strait of III Hope ! thy frozen lips at last Unclose, to teach our seamen how to sift A passage where blue icebergs clash and drift, And the shore loosely rattles in the blast. We hold the secret thou hast clenched so fast For ages, — our best blood has earned the gift, — Blood spilt, or hoarded up in patient thrift, Through sunless months in ceaseless peril passed. But what of daring Franklin ? Who may know The pangs that wrung that heart so proud and brave, In secret wrestling with its deadly woe, And no kind voice to reach him o'er the wave ? Xow he sleeps fast beneath his shroud of snow, And the cold Pole-Star only knows his grave. ii. Alone, on some sharp cliff, I see him strain, O'er the white waste, his keen, sagacious eye, Or scan the signs of the snow-muffled sky, In hope of quick deliverance, — but in vain ; 212 DISCOVERY OF THE NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. Then, faring to his icy tent again, To cheer his mates with his familiar smile, And talk of home and kinsfolk, to beguile Slow hours, which freeze the blood and numb the brain. Long let our hero's memory be enshrined In all true British hearts ! He calmly stood In danger's foremost rank, nor looked behind. He did his work, not with the fevered blood Of battle, but with hard-tried fortitude, In peril dauntless, and in death resigned. in. Despond not, Britain ! Should this sacred hold Of Freedom, still inviolate, be assailed, The high, unblenching spirit which prevailed In ancient days is neither dead nor cold. Men are still in thee of heroic mould, — Men whom thy grand old sea-kings would have hailed As worthy peers, invulnerably mailed, Because by Duty's sternest law controlled. Thou yet wilt rise, and send abroad thy voice Among the nations, battling for the right, In the unrusted armour of thy youth ; And the oppressed shall hear it and rejoice, For on thy side is the resistless might Of Freedom, Justice, and Eternal Truth ! MY FIRST BIRTHDAY IX A FOREIGN LAND. 213 MY FIEST BIRTHDAY IN A FOEEIGN LAND. Behind my wandering steps, the busy hands Of Time build up the moments into years, And noiselessly from these fast-dropping sands The temple of my mortal life he rears. Alas ! to me too surely it appears A weak devoted structure, which commands No prospect of continuance, and stands On a most tottering base. But Thou these fears, O God ! canst turn to hopes, that when this frail Tent of the spirit shrivels into dust, One of Thy many mansions shall be mine, Eternal in the Heavens. So through the vale Of Life I go my way with lowly trust, Contented heart, and will resigned to Thine ! 214 THE DIAL xVND FOUNTAIN. THE DIAL AND FOUNTAIN. The day its course appointed calmly holds, — Morn wears to noon, and noon to starry night, And, as a fruitful seed, each dawn unfolds, In fair succession, all the hours of light. The river glideth seawards, — ever full From bank to bank, the abounding current sweeps : And, fenced by quiet hills, the lonely pool Clasps the same shadows in its stainless deeps. The sprouting grain that flushes all the Spring Its future perfectness may surely know, And wait serenely for its ripening Through Summer suns to Autumn's golden glow. Alas ! that he for whom the sunlight shines, And the sweet seasons all their wealth mature, Can track his path by no unfailing signs, Nor front the future with a glance secure. THE DIAL AND FOUNTAIN. 215 His daybreak may not shine all round his sky, Xo mellow fruitage crown his hopeful prime, — Death, near the gate of Life, may ambushed lie, And strike him in the middle-watch of Time. The river of his Life a while expands, — Trees fringe the banks, and fair winds crisp the tide, But soon it wanders out through burning sands, And Night beholds it lost in deserts wide. I followed once a streamlet up a dell, Where birds were warbling in the early day, And traced its waters to their parent-well, Beside which stood a dial mossed and grey. " I only count Time's sunny hours,"* — so meant The antique legend quaintly carved above ; " Then count one now," I cried, and stood content In thoughtless mood to watch the shadow move. Slowly it crept a while, but suddenly Traversed the dial-plate with ominous haste ; One moment, and the sun yet climbed the sky, The next, he sunk far in the darkening west. The fountain, too, that rippled o'er the lips Of its scooped basin, ceased at once to flow ; Its waters, struck with chill by that eclipse, Stopped, and shrank murmuring to the spring below. * Xon koras numero, nisi serenas. 216 THE DIAL AND FOUNTAIN. Then o'er my spirit, with an instant glance Of light, shone forth the import of the sign ; A wind-like sound sighed through it as in trance, — The access of a voice not undivine : — " Soon on thy path shall dreary shadows fall, And the free air grow heavy to thy breath, And all the springs of Thought be dried, and all Thy fond hopes trodden in the dust of death. " But the still stars will charm the evening-air, And duly will the dawn go up the East, And Nature's framework still be firm and fair, — The Temple standing longer than the Priest. " Yet mourn not that so soon thou must depart,. Whilst Nature changeless works in earth and sky ; No higher life is stirring in her heart, — Thou hast a spirit that shall never die ! " Therefore thou hast no certain hold on Time, Because with an immortal being blest ; Thy soul is alien to this earthly clime, And only in the Infinite can rest. " Then break the cords that bind thee to the dust, Lift up thy spirit to its high estate, Put on thy shining robes, and tread in trust The path that leadeth to the Heavenly Gate. THE DIAL AND FOUNTAIN. 217 " If Life's light darken, through that higher sphere Give thy ethereal hopes their radiant range ; And, fair through Death, those mansions shall appear Where calm Perfection triumphs over Change ! " surely much of Heaven was in that hour, — And often to my heart will memory bring Its vanished vision, with reviving power, — The darkened Dial, and the dried-up Spring ! 218 TO A FRIEND IX THE MINISTRY. TO A FEIEND IN THE MINISTEY. Still in my memory dwells the happy time, When, closely-linked in Friendship's sweet accord, "We gathered wisdom from the sacred Word, Or ancient books, enriched with truth sublime. Then, side by side, it was our wont to climb The Temple-stairs, where, kneeling, we implored Support to fight the battles of the Lord, To which we then did consecrate our prime. Now fast, in the vanguard of God's array, Thou standest like a soldier tried and true ; I, like-accoutred, early in the day, Outworn and drooping, from the strife withdrew ; Ajid keep my lonely watch beside the way, With thee in spirit, though removed from view. SOXNET. 219 SONNET. My grief pursues me through the Land of Sleep, It winds into the secret of my dreams, And shapes their shadowy pomp. When Fancy seems To charm my fevered spirit into deep Forgetfulness, the restless thought will creep From its dim ambush, startling that repose, And glooms and spectral terrors round me close, Like iron walls I may not overleap. And then I seem to see thy face again, But not, beloved ! as thou wert and art, And, with thy sweet voice tingling in my brain, From this great agony of fear I start, To feel the slow throb of habitual pain, And undulled anguish grasping at my heart. 220 BOAZ AND THE REAPERS. JBOAZ AND THE EEAPEES. "And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you. And they answered him, The Lord bless thee." — Ruth ii. 4. simple piety of early days ! When the kind master, 'midst his golden sheaves, Greets in God's name his reapers, and receives Their greeting in devout and fervent phrase. Here gladness dwells, and peace, which pastoral lays Have pictured never, — sacred peace which springs Beneath the shadow of Religion's wings. When from a nation's heart its faith decays, An inward and uniting virtue dies ; All social elements in that groat wane Become distempered, — firm and genial ties Relax, to part when comes the testing strain, — And those once linked by steadfast sympathies Stand sundered, in defiance and disdain. A REMEMBRANCE. 221 A REMEMBRANCE. Though I most surely know where thou art gone, Xow thou art vanished from our mortal sight, And that thou hast thy dwelling in the light Which no unpurged eye may look upon, Still thy sweet image, as it once was known And loved in sorrow, and thy gentle face With its mild suffering aspect, keeps its place Unchanged, unchangeable on Memory's throne. I seem to see thee, near and yet apart From the great congregation of the blest, Entranced in speechless wonder that thou art With Him for ever whom thou lovest best, With a great weight of gladness on thy heart, And an immortal consciousness of rest. 222 A PARABLE-MIRACLE. A PAEABLE-MIEACLE. World ! the angels' eyes, struck with thy beauty, Hung over thee, enamoured, in thy prime, When thou, at concord with the law of duty, Went'st forward with a brightness into time. Order was in thy goings, Peace possessed Thy heart, and all was harmony and grace ; God, lifting up his hands, his last-born blessed, And all his breath was warm upon thy face. hadst thou stood but loyal to His will, Thy primal glory had not ceased to shine, For thee thy Maker's benison been still A freshening spring of influence benign. Angels had breathed thy unpolluted air, As the free suburb of their native heaven, And God himself, no chance-cast stranger there, Beneath thy flourishing trees had walked at even. A PARABLE-MIRACLE. 223 But Madness struck thee on a sudden ; Sin Banished sweet Peace, the angel, from thy breast, And countless shapes of evil entered in, — Suspicion, Sorrow, Changefulness, Unrest. And now thy name is Legion ; and afar From God and goodness thou art madly driven, In the ascendant of a baleful star Thy wild and ceaseless wail goes up to heaven. The golden chain of Law and Duty thou Hast broken, in the frenzy of thy wrath, But heavier fetters clank upon thee now, And Death's dark shadow haunts thy troubled path. Yet One has met thee on thy reckless way, His power, his love, is on thee like a spell, — The inward struggle strengthens day by day, Which yet shall free thee from the fiends of hell. Yes ! thou shalt yet, with raiment white and holy, Come forth thy blest Deliverer to greet, And angels will behold thee sitting lowly, Thy madness ended, at thy Saviour's feet ! HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 1 My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him."— Hebrews xii. 5. O Thou ! whose tender feet have trod The thorny path of w^oe, Forbid that I should slight the rod, Or faint beneath the blow. My spirit to its chastening stroke I meekly would resign, Nor murmur at the heaviest yoke That tells me I am Thine. Give me the spirit of Thy trust, To suffer as a son, — To say, though lying in the dust, My Father's will be done ! 228 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. I know that trial is His love With but a graver face, — That, veiled in sorrow, earthwards move His ministries of grace. May none depart till I have gained The blessing which it bears, And learn, though late, I entertained An angel unawares ! So will I bless the hour that sent The mercy of the rod, And build an altar by the tent Where I have met with God. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 229 II. 1 Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." John xi. 32. We sadly watched the close of all, Life balanced on a breath ; We saw upon his features fall The awful shade of death. All dark and desolate we were, And murmuring Nature cried, " surely, Lord, hadst Thou been here, Our brother had not died ! " But when its glance the memory cast On all that grace had done, And thought of lifelong warfare passed And endless victory won, Then Faith, prevailing, w T iped the tear, And looking upward, cried, " Lord, Thou surely hast been here, — Our brother has not died ! " 230 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. III. "Ye are complete in Him."— Colossians II. 10. In Thee my heart, Jesus, finds repose, — Thou bringest rest to all that weary are. Until that day-spring from on high arose, I wandered through a night without a star ; My feet had gone astray Upon a lonely way, — Each guide I followed failed me in my need, — Each staff I leaned on proved a broken reed. Then, when in mine extremity to Thee I turned, Thy pity did prevent my prayer ; From that entangling maze it set me free, And quickly loosed my heavy load of care ; Gave me the lofty scope Of a heaven- centred hope, And led me on with Thee, a gentle guide, Thither where pure immortal joys abide. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 231 Thou art the great completion of my soul, The blest fulfilment of its deepest need, — When self-surrendered to Thy mild control It enters into liberty indeed ; Thy love, a genial law, Its every aim doth draw Within its holy range, and sweetly lure Its longings toward the beautiful and pure. Thy presence is the never-failing spring Of life and comfort in each darker hour, And, through Thy grace benignly ministering, Grief wields a secret purifying power. 'Tis sweet, O Lord, to know Thy kindredness with woe, — Sweeter to walk with Thee on ways apart Than with the world, where heart is shut to heart. For Thee Eternity reserves her hymn, — For Thee Earth has her prayers, and Heaven her vows ; Thy saints adore Thee, and the seraphim Under Thy glory stoop their starry brows. may that light divine On me still clearer shine, — A power, an inspiration from above, Lifting me higher to Thy perfect love ! 232 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. IV. " Bid me come unto Thee on the water."— Matthew xiv. 28. O, in the dark and stormy night, When far from land I cry with fear, Shine o'er the waves, thou holy light, — Then, O my Saviour, be Thou near ! Though from afar, let me but see Dim through the dark Thy gliding form, And bright the gloomy hour will be That brought Thy presence in the storm. Then lift Thy hand, and bid me come, And higher though the tempest blow, I through the wind and through the gloom To Thy loved side will gladly go. The wind is fair that blows to Thee, The wave is firm that bears me on, And stronger still that love to me Which many waters could not drown. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 233 Or for Thy coming bid me wait, My soul in patience shall abide ; And though the storm may not abate, I will not seek another guide. With Thee I fear no angry blast, — With Thee my course points ever home ; And in good time, all perils past, To the Fair Havens I shall come. 234 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. V. " The footsteps of the flock."— Song of Solomon i. £ Not always, Lord, in pastures green The sheep at noon Thou feedest, Where in the shade they lie Within Thy watchful eye ; Not always under skies serene The white-fleeced flock Thou leadest. On rugged ways, with bleeding feet, They leave their painful traces ; Through deserts drear they go, Where wounding briars grow, And through dark valleys, where they meet No quiet resting-places. Not always by the waters still, Or lonely wells palm-hidden, Do they find happy rest, And, in Thy presence blest, Delight themselves, and drink their fill Of pleasures unforbidden. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 235 Their track is worn on Sorrow's shore, Where windy storms beat ever, — Their troubled course they keep, Where deep calls unto deep ; So going till they hear the roar Of the dark-flowing river. But wheresoe'er their steps may be, So Thou their path be guiding, be their portion mine ! — Show me the secret sign, That I may trace their way to Thee, And there find rest abiding. Slowly they gather to the fold Upon Thy holy mountain, — There, resting round Thy feet, They dread no storm nor heat, And slake their thirst where Thou hast rolled The stone from Life's full fountain. 236 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. VI. SABBATH EVENING. time of tranquil joy and holy feeling ! When over earth God's Spirit from above Spreads out His wings of love ; When sacred thoughts, like angels, come appealing To our tent-doors ; — eve, to earth and heaven The sweetest of the seven ! How peaceful are thy skies ! thy air is clearer, As on the advent of a gracious time : The sweetness of its prime Blesses the world, and Eden's days seem nearer ; I hear, in each faint stirring of the breeze, God's voice among the trees. while thy hallowed moments are distilling Their fresher influence on my heart like dews, The chamber where I muse Turns to a temple ! — He whose converse thrilling Honoured Emmaus, that old eventide, Comes sudden to my side. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 23"* 'Tis light at evening-time when Thou art present, — Thy coming to the eleven in that dim room Brightened, Christ ! its gloom ; So bless my lonely hour that memories pleasant Around the time a heavenly gleam may cast, Which many days shall last. Raise each low aim, refine each high emotion, That with more ardent footstep I may press Toward Thy holiness ; And, braced for sacred duty by devotion, Support my cross along that rugged road Which Thou hast sometime trod. I long to see Thee, for my heart is weary, — when, my Lord ! in kindness wilt Thou come To call Thy banished home ? The scenes are cheerless, and the days are dreary, — From sorrow and from sin I would be free, And evermore with Thee. Even now I see the golden city shining Up the blue depths of that transparent air, — How happy all is there ! There breaks a day which never knows declining, — A Sabbath through whose circling hours the blest Beneath Thy shadow rest ! 238 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. VII. 1 Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God, believe also in me."— John xiy. 1. No more let sorrow cloud the eye, Nor fears the spirit fill ; Though now the parting hour is nigh, My heart is with you still. My Father sent me from above, His mercy's brightest sign ; And if you trust His changeless love wherefore doubt of mine ? The stretching shadow of the cross Now overcasts my soul ; You sorrow for the coming loss, — I long to reach the goal. My love must first be tried by death Before it prove its power, And, through its triumph, give you faith For many an evil hour. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 239 Dark days will come when I depart, But cast your care on me, And I, unseen, will keep the heart From fear and fainting free. The thorny path that I have trod Is also traced for you ; But where I walked alone with God, Ye have your Saviour too. VIII. TEUTH. The rounded whole of Truth the mortal mind May never mirror in its narrow sphere, Yet, as it looks to Heaven, may hope to find The faint reflection ever wax more clear. To him that seeks it is more largely sent, Nor murmurs he that all may not be given ; Upon the leaf each dew-drop is content To hold its segment of the round of Heaven. 240 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. IX. " Faith worketh by love.' , — Gal. v. 6. mourn not that the days are gone, The old and wondrous days, "When Faith's unearthly glory shone Along our earthly ways ; When the Apostle's gentlest touch "Wrought like a sacred spell, And health came down on every couch On which his shadow fell. The glory is not wholly fled That shone so bright before, Nor is the ancient virtue dead Though thus it works no more. Still godlike Power witli Goodness dwells, And blessings round it move, And Faith still works its miracles, Though now it works by Love. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 2-il It may not on the crowded ways Lift up its voice as then, But still with sacred might it sways The stormy minds of men. Grace still is given to make the faint Grow stronger through distress, And even the shadow of the saint Retains its power to bless. 242 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. X. A EEQUIEM. Thou art free from pain, and sorrow Like a cloud from thee hath passed ; And the day that knows no morrow Hath arisen on thee at last. The fair seal of life for ever Glitters clear upon thy brow ; And the sound of the dark river Hath no terror to thee now. Sore we wept when we were taking Our long farewell look at thee ; But around thee light was breaking Which no eye but thine might see. On thine ear a voice was falling Which to our ear might not come, — 'Twas the voice of Jesus calling His beloved to her home. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 243 In the stainless linen vested, Thou art sitting at the feast, And thy head is sweetly rested On the Saviour's loving breast. Thou hast heard the saints all singing, Thou hast also waved the palm, While the golden harps were ringing In the pauses of the psalm. Thou hast walked the pathways golden, Where the faithful walk in white, — With undazzled eyes beholden The fair city's jasper-light. Thou art safe there from all evil, — There no hurtful thing may be ; O'er the world, the flesh, the devil, Thou hast gained the victory. Wherefore we do not bewail thee, But will press the faster on, Till we meet thee, till we hail thee, In the land where thou art gone : Where the crystal streams are flowing For the comfort of the blessed, And the tree of life is growina, In whose peaceful shade they rest. 244 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. XI. THE DEATH OF A BELTEYEE. Acts xii. The Apostle sleeps, — a light shines in the prison, — An angel touched his side, " Arise," he said, and quickly he hath risen, His fettered arms untied. The watchmen saw no light at midnight gleaming, — They heard no sound of feet ; The gates fly open, and the saint still dreaming Stands free upon the street. So when the Christian's eyelid droops and closes In Nature's parting strife, A friendly angel stands where he reposes To wake him up to, life. He gives a gentle blow, and so releases The spirit from its clay ; Erom sin's temptations, and from life's distresses, He bids it come away. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 2\o It rises up, and from its darksome mansion It takes its silent flight, And feels its freedom in the large expansion Of heavenly air and light. Behind, it hears Time's iron gates close faintly, — It is now far from them, For it has reached the city of the saintly, The new Jerusalem. A voice is heard on earth of kinsfolk weeping The loss of one they love ; But he is gone where the redeemed are keeping A festival above. The mourners throng the ways, and from the steeple The funeral-bell tolls slow ; But on the golden streets the holy people Are passing to and fro ; And saying as they meet, " Rejoice ! another Long waited-for is come ; The Saviour's heart is glad, a younger brother Hath reached the Father's home ! " 246 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. XII. A THOUGHT AT EVENING. The peaks are swathed with purple light, — Day's shadow lingering up the skies, — And clouds above them, warm and bright, Are floating, flushed with kindred dyes. Below, the valleys lie in gloom, — The woods a sombre aspect wear ; But high above, that tender bloom Along the ridge refines the air. At evening-time it shall be light, Though clouds at dawn may mantle heaven,— Though wind and rain, though mist and blight, Across the lowering day be driven. Stand thou unshaken in thy place, And fix thy glance upon the sky ; At last a gleam will reach thy face, A heavenly gleam that will not die. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 247 XIII. "The light that led astray Was light from heaven ! " It could not be ; no light from heaven Has ever led astray, — Its constant stars to guide are given, And never to betray. The meteor in the marish bred May lure the foot afar, But never wayfarer misled "Would say it was a star. When passion drives to wild excess, And folly wakes to shame, It cannot make the madness less To cast on heaven the blame. blindly wander if thou wilt ! And break from virtue's rule, But add not blasphemy to guilt, And doubly play the fool. The light that seemed to shine on high, And led thee on to sin, 248 HYMNS AXD MEDITATIONS. Was but reflected to thine eye From passion s fire within. And Conscience warned thee of the guide, And Keason raised her voice, — Thou wert not forced to turn aside But freely niad'st the choice. Thy Will its false enchantment drew Before thy clearer sight, And round the hovering tempter threw An angel's robe of light. And thus from virtue's peaceful way So far by passion driven, How could the light that led astray Be light that shone from heaven ? Why, reckless of its native aim, Should genius, throned so high, E'er lend the sanction of its name To consecrate a lie, If not that a corrupted heart Degrades the noblest mind, And turns to shame the glorious art That should have blessed mankind ? spurn the guilty thought away ! Eternity will tell That every light that led astray Was lteht that shone from hell. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 249 XIV. All sainted souls, Lord, are the chords From which Thy fingers draw Immortal music to the tones Of Thy most holy Law. The melodies which Thy wide heavens Through all the ages fill Are wills responding, and at one With Thine, the Master-Will. The angel's harp is but a heart That knows no law but Thine, The angel's song a creature's love At one with Love Divine; — And music breathes from all Thy worlds, Because they never stray From the blue spaces where of old Thy hand has traced their way. The soul of man was once the lyre On which Thy fingers played, Heaven's music then was heard on Earth, And Earth an answer made, — R 250 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. Till Sin untuned the instrument By Eden's fatal tree, Broke all its golden chords, and spoiled The sacred minstrelsy. Yet not for ever will it lie Mute, shattered on the ground, Thy hand can wake its strings again To some preluding sound, — Some wandering murmurs of the strain That sweet through Eden rung, When first it mingled in the hymn The stars of morning sung. The Saviour's gentle touch contains The secret charm to move And re-inspire it, by the power Of His redeeming love. He strings the broken chords again, And makes it here begin The everlasting psalm which floats Through regions pure from sin. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 251 XV. THE DEATH OF AN INFANT. I heard the angels singing As they went up through the sky, A sweet infant's spirit bringing To its Father's house on high : " Happy thou, so soon ascended, With thy shining raiment on ! Happy thou, whose race is ended With a crown so quickly won! " Hushed is now thy lamentation, And the first words to thee given Will be words of adoration In the blessed speech of Heaven ; For the blood thou mightst have slighted Has now made thee pure within, And the evil seed is blighted That had ripened unto sin. 252 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. " We will lead thee by a river, Where the flowers are blooming fair ; "We will sing to thee for ever, For no night will darken there. Thou shalt walk in robes of glory ; Thou shalt wear a golden crown ; Thou shalt sing Redemption's story, With the saints around the throne. " Thou wilt see that better country, Where a tear-drop never fell, — Where a foe made never entry, And a friend ne'er said farewell ; * Where, upon the radiant faces That will shine on thee alway, Thou wilt never see the traces Of estrangement or decay. " Thee we bear, a lily-blossom, To a sunnier clime above ; There to lay thee in a bosom Warm with more than mother's love. * "Days without night, joys without sorrow, sanctity without sin, charity without stain, possession without fear, society without envying, communication of joys without lessening; and they shall dwell in a blessed country, where an enemy never entered, and from whence a friend never went away." — Jeremy Taylor. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 253 Happy thou, so timely gathered From a region cold and bare, To bloom on, a flower unwithered, Through an endless summer there ! " Through the night that dragged so slowly, Eachel watched beside a bed ; Weeping wildly, kneeling lowly, She would not be comforted. To her lost one she was clinging, Raining tears upon a shroud ; She could hear no angels singing, — See no brightness through the cloud. XVI. A THOUGHT ON TIME. How T oft we fret for Time's delays, And urge him on with sighs, But to lament in after days How rapidly he flies ! Too late we sorrow to receive What once we thought a boon : Life hurries past us, but we grieve To reach the crave too soon. 254 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. XVII. •LINES. Honour will oft elude the grasp That rashly courts the prize ; The radiant phantom we would clasp, Still, as we follow, flies. But oft, on Duty's lowly way, Unsought, will Honour meet The patient traveller, and lay Her treasures at his feet. Thus he who went to seek of old Some asses that had strayed, Found on his way a crown of gold Placed sudden on his head. And he whose bad ambition dared A father's crown to seize, Found Treason's bitter doom prepared Anions: the for est- trees ! HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 255 XVIII. HUMILITY. ! learn that it is only by the lowly The paths of peace are trod ; If thou wouldst keep thy garments white and holy, Walk humbly with thy God. The man with earthly wisdom high-uplifted Is in God's sight a fool ; But he in heavenly truth most deeply gifted Sits lowest in Christ's school. The lowly spirit God hath consecrated As his abiding rest ; And angels by some patriarch's tent have waited, When kings had no such guest. The dew that never wets the flinty mountain Falls in the valleys free ; Bright verdure fringes the small desert-fountain, But barren sand the sea. 256 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. Not in the stately oak the fragrance dwelleth Which charms the general wood, But in the violet low, whose sweetness telle th Its unseen neighbourhood. The censer swung by the proud hand of merit Fumes with a fire abhorred ; But Faith's two mites, dropped covertly, inherit A blessing from the Lord. Bound lowliness a gentle radiance hovers, A sweet, unconscious grace ; Which, even in shrinking, evermore discovers The brightness on its face. Where God abides, Contentment is and Honour, Such guerdon Meekness knows ; His peace within her, and His smile upon her, Her saintly way she goes. Through the strait gate of life she passes stooping, With sandals on her feet ; And pure-eyed Graces, with linked palms come trooping, Their sister fair to greet. The angels bend their eyes upon her goings, And guard her from annoy ; Heaven fills her quiet heart with overflowings Of calm celestial joy. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 257 The Saviour loves her, for she wears the vesture With which He walked on earth ; And through her childlike glance, and step, and gesture, He knows her heavenly birth. He now beholds this seal of glory graven On all whom He redeems, And in His own bright City, crystal-paven, On every brow it gleams. The white-robed saints, the throne-steps singing under, Their state all meekly wear ; Their pauseless praise wells up from hearts which wonder That ever they came there. 258 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. XIX. TO A CHKISTIAN FBIEND. I saw thee not till slow decay Had touched thy beauty's early bloom, Till grief had met thee on thy way And overcast thy life with gloom ; And yet, methought, thy face was bright With something of a heavenly light. Yes ! thine was beauty all unknown To those who live through cloudless days ; The Peace, possessed by them alone Who meekly walk on Sorrow's ways, Gleamed through thy spirit's fleshly veil, And brightened all thy features pale. The light of saintly Patience shone Serenely in thy quiet eye, And Hope thy marble brow upon Set the clear signet of the sky, — And Love, the angel, took thy hand To lead thee to Immanuel's land. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 259 And Faith, that can the light of Heaven Beyond Time's drifting vapours see ; — All these to thee thy God had given, And He had taught thy soul to be Uplifted high without disdain, And greatly purified through pain. A darker path must yet be passed Before those radiant bounds appear, And anxious thoughts may overcast Thy spirit with a natural fear ; But, safe in everlasting arms, Thou need'st not dread unknown alarms. The shadows may fall dark and chill Upon thy lone mysterious way, But thou wilt go unto the hill Of frankincense, until the day Shall lighten in the rosy East, And wake thee up to endless rest. 260 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. XX. "He abideth faithful."— 2 Tnr. n. 13. Friends I love may die or leave me, Friends I trust may treacherous prove, But Thou never wilt deceive me, O my Saviour ! in Thy love. Change can ne'er this union sever, Death its links may never part, — Yesterday, to-day, for ever, Thou the same Redeemer art. On the cross love made Thee bearer Of transgressions not Thine own ; And that love still makes Thee sharer In our sorrows on the throne. From Thy glory Thou art bending Still on earth a pitying eye, And, 'mid angels' songs ascending, Hearest every mourner's cry. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 261 In the days of worldly gladness, Cold and proud our hearts may be, But to whom, in fear and sadness, Can we go but unto Thee ? From that depth of gloom and sorrow Where Thy love to man was shown, Every bleeding heart may borrow Hope and strength to bear its own. Though the cup I drink be bitter, Yet since Thou hast made it mine, This Thy love will make it sweeter Than the world's best mingled wine. Darker days may yet betide me, Sharper sorrows I may prove ; But the worst will ne'er divide me, my Saviour ! from Thy love. 262 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. XXI. EECOYEEY FKOM SICKNESS. How pleasant after days of pain, And nights retreating slow, To feel the genial air again Breathe freshly on the brow ! How sweet to leave the darkened room For open earth and sky, And feel the sunlight and the bloom Revive the languid eye ! "With lovelier tints each little flower That stars the hedge is clad, And every bird has sweeter power To make the spirit glad. Our pulses beat to Nature's chime, — We see the golden glow That was about us in the time Of childhood, long ago. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 2G3 Joy comes in trances like the wind, — And in the after-calm, The heart interprets to the mind Creation's choral psalm ; We hear it, and we swell the song With Love's harmonious breath, — Adoring Him to whom belong The issues out of death. More fervent thoughts the spirit thrill, When words are sealed or slow ; The current of its bliss is still, But deep and swift of flow : For gladness sinks beneath the weight Of undeserved good, And meekness is the graceful mate That walks with gratitude. Oh, if to sick and weary hearts Such joy on earth be given, What is it when the saint departs To breathe the air of Heaven ! When from Earth's narrowness and gloom Gone out, with dazzled eyes He steps within the light and bloom Of God's pure Paradise ! 264 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. XXII. THE SINNER'S HOPE. never shall the weary rest, Nor joy to drooping hearts be given, Till, like a vision pure and blest, Upon them hope has dawned from Heaven. In Earth's cold soil no balm may grow To cure the deepest wounds we feel ; The World moves onwards with its woe, And mocks the grief it cannot heal. No bliss unfading walks the earth Which is not native to the sky ; The power must be of heavenly birth Which gives us peace that will not die ; Then, only then, our spirits greet A hope immortally their own, — When, at the Saviour's gentle feet, They lay their every burden down. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 265 In Him, through all the storms, and strife, And weariness of Time they rest ; This hope, the anchor of their life, Which keeps them safe, and makes them blest. To Him, and to His cross, it clings With sacred constancy and true ; And to the trustful heart it brings Not only peace but pureness too. Unquenched is still that guiding star Which shone of old in eastern skies ; Still, all that follow from afar It leads to where the Saviour lies ; There, only there, the weary rest, And joy to sorrowing hearts is given, — There, hope immortal fills the breast, And all around gleams light from Heaven ! 266 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. XXIII. 1 Ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, but unto mount Sion, the city of the living God." — Heb. xii. 18, 22. Not, Lord ! unto that mount of dread Thou bidst Thy people gather now, With clouds and darkness overspread, And fiery splendour round its brow ; But unto Sion, where Thy grace Rejoicing o'er Thy works is seen, And all Thy glory in the face Of Christ the Saviour shines serene. Not by the trumpet's stormy blast Thou bidst the hushed assembly hear Those words which in the thunder passed, And filled the holiest heart with fear ; But, in the still small voice which steals From the great glory where Thou art, Thy mercy tells of One who heals The anguish of the wounded heart. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 267 O let that voice of heavenly power The movement of my spirit sway, — Thy presence in each darker hour Sustain my hope and guide my way ! That I may go from strength to strength In an ascending course to Thee, Till in Thine own pure light at length The perfectness of light I see. 268 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. XXIV. TO A FKIEKD DEPAETED. The memory of thy truth to me My heart will ne'er resign, Until, beloved ! mine shall be As cold a bed as thine. High o'er my path of life it will Hang ever as a star, To cheer my steps toward the hill Where the immortal are. The lesson of thy gentle life, Thy trials meekly borne, Will keep me hopeful in the strife When fainting and out-worn ; Then, for a darker hour remains The memory of the faith That triumphed over mortal pains, And calmly fronted death. HYMNS AND MEDITATION-. 2G9 I once had hoped that side by side Our journey we might go. And with a perfect love divide Our gladness and our woe ; But thou hast reached thy Father's home. And happier thou art there Than I. left wearily to roam Through days of grief and care. Though all is changed since thou art gone, I would not wish thee here. Far rather would I weep alone Than see thee shed a tear : — The thought of thy great happiness Is now a part of mine : Xor would I wish my sorrow le<s To see that sorrow thine. 270 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. XXV. MEMOEIAL LIKES. I know tliy God hath given thee sweet releasing From the great woe thy gentle spirit bore, Yet in the heart still throbs the thought unceasing,- Beloved ! thou wilt come to us no more. No more ! although we feel thy sainted vision, The while we speak of thee, is lingering near, And know that, in the bliss of thy transition, Thou still rememberest us who mourn thee here. We loved, and still we love thee. What can sever This holy bond ? The spirit is not dust ; Sweet is thy memory in the soul for ever, And fondly guarded as a sacred trust. Dear was thy living image when before us It stood in all thy youthful beauty's glow, Yet still more dear thy spirit hovering o'er us Witli the bright crown of glory on its brow. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 271 How oft the weary heart, its grief dissembling, Sees the cairn smile upon thy features still, And hears along its chords, like music trembling, The low clear tones to which it once would thrill ! The vision fades, — we feel we are forsaken, The gloom returns, the anguish and the care, — And tender longings in the heart awaken, Which wish thee here, though thou art happier there. Alas ! how far the Past outweighs the Present, — The forms that come no more the friends we see! How the lone spirit feels 'tis far less pleasant To smile with others than to weep for thee! Yet, in the struggle of its silent sorrow, The pining heart can sometimes break its chain, And from the Saviour's word this hope may borrow, — Beloved ! we shall see thee yet again. 272 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. XXVI. FAITH, HOPE, AND LOYE AT THE SEPULCHRE* " He is not here," Love said, while down her face Slowly the large tears of her trouble flow ; " They've borne Him hence, and whither who may know ? " Then straightway Faith and Hope, with rapid pace, Came running toward the tomb, — a holy race : And Faith did outrun Hope, and stooping low Saw the sweet-smelling cerements, pure as snow, Each calmly folded in its proper place, But paused on the threshold gazing. Hope, not grieved At his defeat, soon followed, nor delayed To enter in, and presently was cheered ; Faith also entered with him, and believed. Then homewards both returned ; but Love there stayed, And wept and waited till the Lord appeared. * The subject of this Sonnet must have been, unconsciously, suggested by a remembrance of some stanzas in Keble's " Christian Year ; " the triad there personified being Reason, Faith, and Love. HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. 273 XXVII. 'I am a stranger with Thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were."— Ps. xxxix. 12. ' Peregrinis in terris nulla est jucundior recordatio quani suae civi- tatis." — Augustine. Though long the wanderer may depart, And far his footsteps roam, He clasps the closer to his heart The image of his home. To that loved land, where'er he goes, His tenderest thoughts are cast, And dearer still through absence grows The memory of the past. Though Nature on another shore Her softest smile may wear, The vales, the hills, he loved before To him are far more fair. The heavens that met his childhood's eye, All clouded though they be, Seem brjghter than the sunniest sky Of climes beyond the sea. 274 HYMNS AND MEDITATIONS. So Faith, a stranger on the earth, Still turns its eye above ; The child of an immortal birth Seeks more than mortal love. The scenes of earth, though very fair, Want home's endearing spell ; And all his heart and hope are where His God and Saviour dwell. He may behold them dimly here, And see them as not nigh, But all he loves will yet appear Unclouded to his eye. To that fair City, now so far, Rejoicing he will come ; — A better light than Bethlehem's star Guides every wanderer home. ATLANTIS. Paradise, and groves Elysian, Fortunate Fields, like those of old Sought in the Atlantic Main, why should they be A history only of departed things, Or a mere fiction of what never was ? For the discerning intellect of Man, "When wedded to this goodly universe In love and holy passion, shall find these A simple produce of the common day. "Wordsworth. ATLANTIS. PART FIRST. I. The wind that through the blue air blows unspent, Bears thee, O ship ! to some far shore in pride ; Thy stately beauty charms the element "Wherein, with swanlike motion, thou dost glide ; The quick waves gleam around thee, and the wide Bare ocean glitters whither thou wilt go ; Checked to the gentlest pressure of thy guide, Thy giant strength is shifted to and fro, And soon will thrill to feel the steady trade-wind blow. II. Southward thou through the waves wilt scoop thy path, Whether in sultry quietness they sleep, Or fiercely trample round thee in their wrath, When the storm crashes from its cloudy steep ; 278 ATLANTIS. Thou knowest all the secrets of the deep, And through her provinces art free to steer ; As the lone eagle floats in the wide sweep Of his aerial realm, thou on thy clear And level way dost move, unconscious of a fear. in. Yet free and fearless as thou sweepest on, These smiling seas in awful silence lay, Unfurrowed by a keel, through ages gone ; Man still is but a thing of yesterday To periods vast and dim, that stretch away Into the hoary past, when, still outspread As now, these bounds were guarded by the sway Of old traditions, and a sacred dread, And manifold wild dreams which Pagan fancy bred. IV. These limits to the elder world were haunted By visionary forms ; their misty bound Shut in a region, sunny and enchanted, That was Imagination's holy ground ; And bright-eyed Fantasy the place had crowned With the rich purple splendour of her dreams ; — There all immortal loveliness she found, The rippling light of golden-sanded streams, And azure skies suffused with amethystine gleams. ATLANTIS. 279 V. Here seas in slumber clasped the happy isles, Which, to the old Ionian's tranced eyes, Unveiled their bloom of beauty * in the smiles Of an unwithering summer ; where the sighs Of fragrant west winds ever softly rise, And creep through groves in cloudy foliage drest, And sounds of unimagined melodies Float through the crystal air, and witch the rest There kept for souls assoiled, the spirits of the blest. VI. What though the portal of one sense was barred, When on the mind such visions crowded fast, And Nature's blank vacuity was starred With lights so beautiful, and gleams that cast The flush of all Elysium, as they passed ; When chiefs and sages of an earlier time, Whose names immortal as his song shall last, Smiled on their bard from that unfading clime, Each wearing, as of old, the beauty of his prime. VII. Fair visions these, which by the Poet's art Were glorified, but not less deeply shrined Among the old traditions of the heart ; His voice interpreted the thoughts that find An instant echo in the general mind, * See Note 1. 280 ATLANTIS. And gave them local forms for its embrace, A pledge, though frail, it had not vainly pined For the enjoyment of some happier place, Where sorrow comes no more, nor leaves one wither- ing trace. VIII. There are electric thoughts which, as the flesh Clings to the living spirit within, entwine Their links in many a strong and subtle mesh About our mortal being ; which refine And dignify a nature once divine, Though now far sunken from its high estate ; Longings which search through nature for a sign That Life is not the sport of wayward fate, — That Man will not be left for ever desolate. IX. Hence the heart wooed the distant and the dim, And, passing forth from Man's familiar sphere, Sought tranquil seats beyond the vague blue rim Of Ocean ; * found a sanctuary there From the anxieties that blight and sear Its best affections, refuge from the strife, And wrong, and wretchedness that round it were, — A haven sheltered from the storms so rife Upon the open seas of this uncertain life. * See Note 2. ATLANTIS. 281 X. The Present is made for us, — stern and cold It stands in mask of iron ; the Remote, Fluent and formless, runs in every mould In which the busy spirit shapes its thought. The fair Ideal we have vainly sought Through life we there behold reflected plain ; Its elements we colour as they float With our emotions, — in a bright domain The mind there roams at large, escaping from its chain. XI. So pilgrims, faring on through deserts bare, Still think that from each far and quivering hill They will behold green fields and valleys fair : There lies the smiling region where the rill Freshens the air, and crystal waters fill The well that gushes up the reeds among ; So, weaving pleasant fancies at their will, They strive to banish, as they toil along, The dreary images that round about them throng. XII. It might be in the times when Tyre sent forth Her stately argosies to every shore, From rich Sofala to the stormy north, Some galley, as from Britain south she bore, Deep-freighted from her mines with massy ore, T 282 ATLANTIS. Had, struck by tempest, from the neighbouring coast Been driven far out to sea ; and labouring sore, With shattered rudder, many days been tossed, And many a starless night, through seas till then un- crossed. XIII. Not yet by man in brazen ring was swung That needle to the pole-star trembling true, Wherewith its secret from the deep he wrung ; So for an instant doom the hapless crew Stood ready, when a watery sun-gleam threw A brightness where a steadfast cloud appeared, And presently the peaks of mountains blue Loomed through the mist, and sinking hearts were cheered, And for that welcome strand right joyously they steered. XIV. But when the clear prevailing light had cloven The loaded air, and fast as April snows Dissolved those coils of vapours interwoven That swathed the hills, how fair a vision rose Before their aching eyes, — the soft repose Of sunshine on the umbrage of the woods : How sweet to woo each balmy wind that blows, To feel the unutterable charm that broods O'er Nature's ancient haunts and sacred solitudes ! ATLANTIS. 283 XV. Clear brooks ran down through laurel-shaded coves, From out an unpruned wilderness of bloom; The warm air over aromatic groves Was tingling, stifled with the sweet perfume, — And golden fruits were hanging in the gloom Of thickets, — flowers looped up in gorgeous braids From branch to branch, — and palms of emerald plume, And cypress-spires towered over sunny glades, — And many a silvered stem glanced dim up far arcades. XVI. "Was not a sound heard in the sultry noon, Save the waves washing dull in many a bay, — The flow of Ocean, in its drowsy swoon, Round many a wooded steep and headland gray ; And well that murmur with the sleep that lay On mount and forest blended ; far and wide Spread Xature's wild, magnificent array, Now first unveiling, like an Indian bride In festive splendour decked, and rich barbaric pride. XVII. A place — an hour — in which the mind receives A sense of grandeur all unknown before, — The impression of a joy which never leaves The heart, and, quickening, thrills it to the core ; 284 ATLANTIS. And when the wanderers left this charmed shore, They deemed that they had looked upon a scene Shut out from mortal sight from evermore, — In trance beheld the impenetrable screen That girdled Eden round with walls of living green. XVIII. Their joy was tempered by a sacred awe That checked presumption ; hence there went abroad The rumour from Phoenicia, that they saw In these far seas a faery isle * that glowed With beauty not of earth, — that Heaven bestowed, In gracious sympathy with their distress, A vision of the deep retired abode Of happy spirits, the serene recess Where endless years flow on in peace and pleasantness. XIX. A fable it might be, — but fables speak The heart's embodied longings, and it clings, When reft of better guidance, worn and weak, To every hollow oracle that brings Its semblance, as the vine will clasp its rings And tendrils round the dead or living bough ; Toward each far-seen, beckoning hope it springs, And holds it fast, if haply it may show Some antidote for ill, some healing balm for woe. * See Note 3. ATLANTIS. 285 XX. Man cannot crush the instincts of the soul Still pining for expansion large and free, And striving to maintain their just control Over the spirit ; so if aught there be That seems an echo from Eternity, He hails it,* though it sounds but to deceive ; — The ship, nigh foundering in the Arctic Sea, Will grapple to the iceberg, and we cleave To every desperate hope that our sick fancies weave. XXI. Nor let us, fallen on better days, condemn The faith, too credulous, of antique ages ; — Our light and truth were not sent forth to them Out of the oracle of God, — those pages, Whence the immortal voice of saints and sages Still speaks, were sealed and shrouded from their view, — And for the living water which assuages Our thirst, they, far from Heaven's descending dew, Digged many a desert well, and brackish water drew. XXII. Oh, sore must be the struggle and the strife The while the weary heart thus seeks to earn Some higher strength to bear the load of life ! They strained their faltering vision to discern * See Note 4. 286 ATLANTIS. Some heavenly sign that what they fain would learn Would be revealed, — but vainly so they hoped ; With doubts and mysteries, whose voices stern Eung through the world's great void, they feebly coped, And through the thickening gloom their darksome journey groped. XXIII. To seek amidst Life's shadowy forms to clasp Assurance to the heart with passionate strain, And feel the phantom melting from the grasp, — To break of Circumstance the heavy chain Which rusts into the spirit, and attain To freedom from its close-entangling coil, — For this they strove, but spent their strength in vain ; In sweat of soul they searched a barren soil, But found no rich return to recompense their toil. XXIV. As one, who, by the Sacramento's stream, Day after day his search for treasure plies, His hot brain fevered with a golden dream, And scoops the sand, and bends with earnest eyes Above it, raking for the glittering prize, But still, with bitter disappointment curst, No grain nor ruddy scale there sparkling lies, — So madly toils with never-sated thirst, Until too late he sees the specious bubble burst. ATLANTIS. 287 XXV. For never can the anxious heart rejoice In firm assurance of a truth possest, Till Heaven breaks silence, and its solemn voice Awakes an answering echo in the breast ; One only hand can lead it into rest, — In all its doubt an all-sufficient stay ; And every guide whom, in its fruitless quest, It follows, tempts its footsteps far astray Into a howling waste, wherein it finds no way. 28S ATLANTIS. PAET SECOND. I. Fair art thou, Island of the Southern Sea ! Which in these later years to me hast been The home my native land may never be ; An undeparting spring-time smiles serene Along thy shores ; thy hills and valleys green With Nature's sweetest affluence are crowned ; And if the mind some soft enchanting scene Would image, it might roam the earth around And find no lovelier vision in its ample bound. ii. They called thee in the old time Isle of Groves, Lifting thy cloud of forests from the deep ; * And fair are still thy woody mountain coves, The verdurous gloom of inland gorge and steep, Where ancient Silence loves a shrine to keep Inviolate ; fair thy leafy coverts calm, Whereon the sultry sunlight loves to sleep, — Where, waving languidly its fronds, the palm O'erhangs the citron groves, and thickets breathing balm. * See Note 5. ATLANTIS. 289 III. Yet a mysterious wildness, all thine own, With Nature's softer grace is reconciled And blended, where, upon her rocky throne, Mists surging round, and cloud on cloud high-piled Above, sits Majesty, and looks o'er wild Volcanic hollows, ridges shagged with wood, And rugged chasms where moonlight never smiled, Where chafes the torrent in its channel rude, And with a far- heard murmur fills the solitude. IV. But let the vapours leave thy flinty peaks, And melt in ether like a cloud of dew, Whether at Even, when sunset's mellow streaks Flush their dark summits with a purple hue, Or when in Morning's sky of stainless blue They rise so delicately sharp and clear, And all is gentlest Beauty to the view, — Veiled with a shadowy brightness, they appear Forms of the element to earth descending near. v. It breathes around us, this ethereal charm, This blandness, native unto climes like thine, The sweetly-tingling spirit of this warm And golden air, and deep-blue skies that shine, A luminous dome based on the quivering line 290 ATLANTIS. Of Ocean, overvaulting the expanse Of mount and dale, slopes dusky with the vine, Cornfield and woodland which delight the glance, With rich and waving breadths of green luxuriance. VI. Dark frown thy cliffs of bronze along the verge Of ocean, — walls of adamant, they show A calm, embattled front to the loud surge, And shatter back its foam in flakes of snow : There towers thy Mountain Cape, — his swarthy brow The mist swathes like a turban, — the deep roar Of breaking surf comes muffled from below, — And, on his watch, he listens evermore To waves that wail along the solitary shore. VII. All round thee stretch the illimitable seas, Fair, whether glassed in calmness broad and bright, Or ruffling into darkness with the breeze, — A glorious symbol of the Infinite, That thrills the spirit with a deep delight, Or sways it with as deep mysterious dread, As now, when looking forth upon the night I see the cold, dim gleam the stars have shed On those grey weltering waves, in loneliness outspread. ATLANTIS. 291 VIII. And here and there white pools of moonlight lie Upon the tremulous waters, strangely blent With the deep shadows of a chequered sky ; But high in heaven, the Moon in her ascent Has purified the clear blue element From clouds ; and underneath that sparkling chain Of stars, a fleece of wandering vapours rent On the pure darkness casts a fleeting stain, And melts into the air in warm and murmuring rain. IX. Up the soft vagueness of that wavering air Some fascination lures the eye to gaze, As if these stars so calmly shining there Were mystic cyphers traced by Him who sways Our mortal destiny, and shapes our ways ; As if the mind, more spiritual and free, Its thoughts a while above itself could raise, And apprehend more clearly things that be Hid in the luminous depth of His Eternity. x. The radiance flecks the hills and groves around With ebon shadow, — like a mist it falls On the steep city, and its castled mound, And dwellings scattered up the slopes, whose walls Glance through embowering trees at intervals, 292 ATLANTIS. And convent-domes whose burnished sheathing glows With pale star-fire ; the peaceful scene recals Some old Arabian dream, and overflows With a delicious charm of languor and repose. XI. A blooming Isle — a clime beloved of Heaven And far secreted in the ocean-tide, As if to some more favoured people given, Where in a safe retreat they might abide, And years of innocence might calmly glide Away, in scenes by Peace and Freedom blest. For such a spot the war-worn Roman sighed, Where he might live forgotten and at rest,* Shut out from every care that might his life molest. XII. Yet as a seeming joy will sometimes wreathe The pliant features with a hollow smile, While care is fretting restlessly beneath, So Nature's face the fancy may beguile ; A blight is on thy beauty, summer Isle ! Who but would mourn thy people's sad estate, • So blest, and yet so sunken and so vile, Slaves of a creed beneath whose deadening weight All genial aims of life lie crushed and desolate ? * See Note 6. ATLANTIS. 293 XIII. Not theirs the faitli which to the heart appeals, And makes it love all things that lovely be ; Not theirs the noble port of him who feels His soul immortal, and his conscience free ; Though at the name of Christ they bend the knee, From them is sealed the holy Book of God, Man's birthright and his charter ; and we see Rome's branded vassal kiss her iron rod, And crouch to the proud power that on his soul hath trod. XIV. Thus abject ignorance and slavish gloom The native honour of the soul deface, — The immortal spirit pines amidst the bloom And beauty of its earthly dwelling-place ; Man's mighty ruin mocks the living grace Of Nature ; like some pile, once fair and grand, Now scathed and riven by lightning to its base, Whose crumbling towers and wind-worn arches stand More wildly desolate amidst a smiling land. XV. And now, ill-fated Isle ! upon thee lies A guilt that may perchance be unforgiven, That madly thou hast turned away thine eyes From the clear light that sometime shone from Heaven, — 294: ATLANTIS. Against thy proper good hast blindly striven, — Thy noblest children, who stood forth to brave Thy frenzy, from thy bosom thou hast driven,* To nurse a drooping hope beyond the wave, And on some alien shore to find an exile's grave. xvi. Thy Church, to sanctify the deed of shame, Baptized it holy zeal, but blackest guilt May stalk abroad beneath the holiest name ; Yet be it, lordly Priestcraft ! as thou wilt, — It is a hollow fabric that is built On falsehood, proudly though a while it tower ; The captive's groan, the martyr's life-blood spilt, Cry out with instant voices for the hour Which shall behold the fall of thy detested power. XVII. Thy rulers, hapless Nation ! in the praise Of Freedom can speak speciously and well, But from such lips as theirs the stately phrase Bings falsa and hollow as a juggling spell ; For when could sacred Freedom ever dwell Where Conscience cringes to a priestly guide ? Let the long struggle of the nations tell How oft the heavenly flower has drooped and died Beneath the blasting tree that shadows Tiber's tide. * See Note 7. ATLANTIS. 205 XVIII. No ! Man must learn that from the free-born soul The insufferable yoke must first be thrown, "Which would its chartered energies control ; In the mind's inner region he must own No lord, no master, but his God alone, Ere in his outward life the ennobling sense And princely might of Freedom can be known, And, with a princely largesse, can dispense Those sweetest gifts which are Life's beauty and defence. XIX. Such liberty, my native land ! is thine, — Thy hills rise blue before me o'er the wave, And my heart proudly beats to call thee mine ; Though here, an exile, not by choice, I crave A dwelling from the stranger, and a grave May find, not distant, in an alien clime, The thought, 'twas thou that being to me gave, Which with ingenuous gladness filled my prime, Hath blessed with holier joy these years of adverse time. xx. "Wild are thy shores, and with a granite zone Has Nature bound thee, nor thine aspect vies "With the soft beauty which I look upon; Ungentle is thy clime, austere thy skies, 296 ATLANTIS. Nor purple with the vine thy hills arise, Nor sweet with myrtle ; yet has Heaven bestowed Blessings on thee no sensuous charm supplies, — Made thee of old Eeligion's calm abode, The consecrated shrine where Freedom's lamp hath glowed. XXI. Exalted memories throw around thy hills And vales a charm which ever shall endure, And many a sacred thought the spirit thrills In the grey glen, or on the upland moor, Where from his fern-grown cave or cottage door Was dragged the high-souled peasant to his death, When, witness for his simple faith and pure, He knelt untroubled on his native heath, A nd for his murderers breathed in prayer his latest breath . XXII. Nor yet is that impassioned fervour gone Which rose to such heroic heights of old ; It lives, a shaping influence, which has thrown Thy native virtue into nobler mould, And stamped thy manly bearing firm and bold, — Thy household thoughts and speech to loftier mood This generous force hath lifted, and controlled Thy being, to its deepest core imbued With reverence for all pure, severer types of good. ATLANTIS. 297 XXIII. Upon this broad and firm foundation based, The eminent temple of thy Freedom stands, Still in its chaste proportions undefaced; Religion swayed the hearts and nerved the hands That slowly reared that glory of the lands, And thence its stateliness and strength have sprung ; Beholding it from far my soul expands, — I see a magic light around thee flung, Which never was on those fair isles whereof I sung. XXIV. This spiritual gleam hath beautified Thy wilder scenes for ever to the mind, As the selected region where abide Life's choicest blessings ; where the ties that bind Our human hearts in love and concord kind Preserve a holy strength ; where virtues mild, And sweetest charities and hopes, are shrined, — Truth, meek-eyed Peace, Religion's gentle child, With vestal Purity, and Honour undefiled. XXV. Where Man lies blighted, Nature blooms no more, — Where the dull spirit's eye reflects no glow, What charm in gorgeous lights on sea and shore ? Therefore to me the lovelier art thou, My country ! this clear glory on thy brow, U 298 ATLANTIS. These blessings showered upon thee from above ; And, such experience gained, I love thee now With a far deeper and more thoughtful love Than might in earlier days the unheeding spirit move. XXVI. Be this the spirit of my ending strain, — These solitary musings let me raise To prayer, that strength be given thee to maintain Unsoiled that Christian faith which was thy praise Of old ; to stand upon the good old ways Which led thy youth to fame ; to guard the wise And pure traditions of thine earlier days, But chief that sacred Law, wherein there lies The bulwark and the pledge of thy great liberties. XXVII. So that thou never from this covenant swerve, That Hand which has exalted thee so long Will keep thee high in honour, and preserve Thy coasts inviolate from assault of wrong ; Then happier than the fabled isles of song The nations shall behold thee, and confess Heaven's favour makes thy seagirt border strong, And on, through brightening centuries, shall bless Thy bounds with golden years and fruitful quietness. NOTES TO ATLANTIS. NOTES TO ATLANTIS. (1.)— PART I. STANZA Y. The happy isles, Which, to the old Ionian's tranced eyes, Unveiled their bloom of beauty. The Atlantides, Hesperides, or Fortunate Islands, placed by the Greek poets in the Western Ocean, at the farthest limits of the earth, are described by Homer in the fourth book of the Odyssey : — " Stern winter smiles on that auspicious clime, The fields are florid with unfading prime ; From the bleak pole no winds inclement blow, Mould the round hail, or flake the fleecy snow; But from the breezy deep the blest inhale The fragrant murmurs of the western gale." The spirit of the old classic legends has been finely caught by Milton in the exquisite descriptive lines which he puts into the mouth of the Spirit in his Comus: — "To the Ocean now I fly, And those happy climes that lie Up in the broad fields of the sky; 302 NOTES TO ATLANTIS. There I suck the liquid air, All amidst the gardens fair Of Hesperus, and his daughters three, That sing about the golden tree ; Along the crisped shades and bowers Revels the spruce and jocund Spring; The Graces, and the rosy-bosomed Hours, Thither all their bounties bring : That there eternal Summer dwells, And west winds with musky wing, About the cedarn alleys fling Nard and cassia's balmy smells." (2.)— STANZA IX. Tranquil seats beyond the vague blue rim Of Ocean. The idea of an inhabited country in the Atlantic, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, so widely current in ancient times, was, according to Plutarch, imported into Greece from Egypt by Solon the Athenian legislator. He is said to have lived for a considerable time in Egypt, and to have conversed with the most learned of the Egyptian priest- hood on points of philosophy ; and having received from them an account of the Atlantic Island, he attempted to describe it to the Greeks in a poem. This poem gave birth to the philosophical romance of Plato's Timaeus, which again is the prototype of many modern works in that kind, — among which the principal are Sir Thomas More's Utopia, Bacon's New Atlantis, Barclay's Argenis, and Harrington's Oceana. Plato speaks of Solon having been very honourably NOTES TO ATLANTIS. 303 received at Sais, the chief city of the Delta, where the in- habitants professed to be friends of the Athenians, through a certain bond of alliance of ancient date. On his inquir- ing more closely into this alleged alliance, he discovered that the oldest Greek traditions only reached back to a period that appeared as yesterday, when compared with the certain knowledge of antiquity the Egyptians professed to have. One of their more ancient priests exclaimed, " Solon, Solon ! you Greeks are always children : nor is there any such thing as an aged person among you." Accordingly he informed him, that a description of the transactions of the Egyptian city during a space of eight thousand years was preserved in their sacred writings. At that remote period there likewise flourished a city of Athenians, whose civil institutions and illustrious achieve- ments were celebrated as the most excellent of all that were known under the ample circumference of heaven. With this people the kings of the Atlantic Island had waged long and unsuccessful war. (See Timaeus.) Crantor, the first interpreter of Plato, asserts that the history of these events was said by the Egyptian priests of his time to be still preserved inscribed on pillars. The existence at some remote period of an island of much greater size than any now found in the Atlantic has been conceived not at all improbable by some modern writers. Kircher supposes it to have been an island ex- tending from the Canaries to the Azores ; that it was really engulphed in one of the convulsions of the globe, and that those small islands are mere shattered fragments of it. (See Note to W. Irving' s Life of Columbus.) At one time it was believed that this island could be nothing else than the American continent, which in that case must have been discovered by some Phoenician Columbus. The 304 NOTES TO ATLANTIS. author of a curious old work, entitled Speculum Mundi, or, A Glasse representing the Face of the World, says : — " I think it may be supposed that America was sometime part of that great land which Plato calleth the Atlantick Island, and that the kings of that island had some inter- course between the people of Europe and Africa. But when it happened that this island became a sea, time wore out the remembrance of remote coun treys ; and that upon this occasion, namely, by reason of the mud, and dirt, and other rubbish of the island. For when it sank it became a sea, which at the first was full of mud ; and thereupon could not be sailed untill a long time after; yea, so long that such as were the seamen in those dayes were either dead before the sea came to be clear again, or else sunk with the island : the residue, being little expert in the art of navigation, might, as necessitie taught them, sail in some certain boats from island to island ; but not venturing further, their memorie perished. And not onely so, but also thus: this island sinking might so damm up the sea, that neither those that were in these parts did ever attempt to seek any land that wayes to the westwards, nor yet those that were remaining upon that part of the island that did not sink, would ever attempt to seek any land unto the eastwards, and so the one forgot the other."— Cambridge, 1643. The Portuguese Jesuit, Pad. Antonio Cordeyra, in his Hist. Insula Lusitana, Lisbon, 1717, has expended much remarkable erudition and scholastic subtilty on the discussion of this visionary topic, and considers the opi- nion of the existence of any such island a pestilent heresy. According to Plato, the kings and nations of Atlantis conquered Spain, and, as quoted by Cordeyra, lorded it over a great part of that country (senhorear&o grande NOTES TO ATLANTIS. 305 parte della.) The Jesuit's patriotism is sorely wounded by this careless remark, and his answer is the lie direct : — " This statement is an evident falsehood, because from the most ancient and general histories of the world, and in particular those of Spain, we are acquainted with all the kings who were in it from the flood of Noah unto this day ; and of none of them does any author relate, but Plato only dreamed it, that he was conquered by the inhabitants of Atlantis, nor that any of them had wars with these people ; so that the chimerical Atlantis of Plato is only a fancy, and is not true." That this state- ment of a certain historical knowledge of all the kings who reigned in Spain from the era of the Flood is not a mere rhetorical flourish, Cordeyra immediately proceeds to show by giving a catalogue of them, and entering into copious details of the events that happened under their reigns. The first king of that Catholic realm was Tubal, the fifth son of Japheth, and grandson of Noah. He was born in Armenia, and set out on a voyage of discovery through the Mediterranean, which he navigated till he emerged by the Straits of Gibraltar into the ocean. Not wishing, as Cordeyra suggests, to run the risk of another deluge, he turned to the right, coasting along till he came to the mouth of a river, where he landed, and founded the city Athubala, i. e., the city of Tubal. This is now Setubal, a celebrated town and harbour, six leagues from the royal city of Lisbon. This event happened 145 years after the Flood, a.m. 1801, B.C. 2161. Tubal reigned 155 years, and died 300 years after the Flood. He was buried on the lofty promontory afterwards called C;tpe St Vincent, "having always," in the concise eulogiuni of his bio- grapher, " observed Nature's law of one only God, and the Hebrew tongue, and leaving a great part of Spain 306 NOTES TO ATLANTIS. peopled, especially the place of his original settlement, known in after times as Lusitania." The giant Nembroth, it would appear, was troublesome in Spain in those days. He was the grandson of Ham, and probably finding Africa lonely, crossed the Straits, and gave his name to the river Ebro. The fourteenth king of Spain, in direct line from Tubal, was Hesperus. He had a brother, Atlante, who came from Italy, and in- vaded the dominions of Hesperus. Assisted by the Por- tuguese, the invader fought various battles, and finally vanquished Hesperus, and drove him from Spain. Such, according to Cordeyra, is the historic enucleation of the Platonic myth. The Atlantic Island was Italy, the king- was Atlante, and the strange people were his Italian forces, and Portuguese allies. Out of the single name, Atlante, the magical web of Egyptian and Greek romance was spun. (3.)-STANZA XVIII. There went abroad The rumour from Phoenicia, that they saw In these far seas a faery isle. It seems now to be generally admitted that the dis- coveries of those early and enterprising navigators, the Phoenicians, were the nucleus of the myths of Atlas, the Islands of the Blessed, and the Gardens of the Hesperides, which were so richly embellished by the poetic fancies of the Greeks. Humboldt, in a note on Mount Atlas, in his NOTES TO ATLANTIS. 307 Ansichtcn der Natur, has inserted a communication from Professor Ideler (a scholar whose laborious industry belies his name), whose authority he considers decisive. Accord- ing to him, the Phoenicians had visited, among other re- gions, " the Archipelago of the Canary Isles, where their attention was arrested by the Peak of TenerifFe." He pro- ceeds to say, "Through their colonies established in Greece, especially under Cadmus in Bceotia, the Greeks were made acquainted with the existence of this mountain, which soared high above the region of clouds, and with the ' For- tunate Islands/ on which this mountain was situated, and which were adorned with fruits of all kinds, and particu- larly with the golden orange. By the transmission of this tradition through the songs of the bards, Homer became acquainted with these remote regions, and he speaks of an Atlas to whom all the depths of ocean are known, and who bears upon his shoulders the great columns which separate from one another the heavens and the earth, and of the Elysian Plains, described as a wondrously beautiful land in the west." The conclusion to which the learned Professor comes, and in which the encyclopedic Humboldt implicitly ac- quiesces, is that " the Atlas of Homer and Hesiod can be none other than the Peak of Teneriffe, while the Atlas of Greek and Eoman geographers must be sought in the north of Africa." This much-vexed question may there- fore be considered as set at rest. 308 NOTES TO ATLANTIS. (4.)-STANZA XX. If aught there be That seems an echo from Eternity, He hails it. Those legends which told of remote islands in the ocean, peopled at some distant period by innocent and happy races, however worthless they may be in point of substantive historic truth, possess a deep significance of another kind. They are valuable as showing that retro- spective tendency of the mind, which stands out so pro- minent in the religious faith of antiquity. Traditions may be mere floating leaves, but they are leaves inscribed with sibylline characters, and borne on a strong current. They mark in what direction the tides of human feeling and thought were setting, during periods of which little more can be known. They show how the fancies, and desires, and sorrowful remembrances of men were, amidst the darkness of heathenism, reaching restlessly back to a time of innocence that was gone. The world's golden age was never in the present. It lay far away in the past, and man could only stretch forth his hands as to a heritage of happi- ness and peace which he had lost for ever. A rude coin, struck in a forgotten mint, and turned up by the plough- share, may throw light on some grand movement of na- tions or armies ; and these dim-featured myths, like medals dropped by ancient generations on their mysterious march, often show, through the green mould which covers them, the stamp of some half-defaced but kingly thought. Their uncouth and faded cyphering may stand for some truth, which is not for one time or another, but lives, as the short motto of a long experience, in the language of the NOTES TO ATLANTIS. 309 universal heart. May they not be regarded as fragments of original tradition, borne away by the scattered races of mankind, when the bond of their primeval unity was broken, — relics of an earlier faith, which were afterwards embedded like fossils in the superstitions which encrusted them ? In Cudworth's vast work, which may be called a limbics philosophorum, one seems to see in Orphic hymns, Chaldaic oracles, and the liturgies of Persian fire-worship (the symbol to the Magi of the hidden God, or Mithras, father and maker of all things), the shadowy outlines of a religion older than all of them, looking out upon him through the mists of ages. In this sense we might venture to apply Wordsworth's fine lines in his " Ode on Intima- tions of Immortality," descriptive of the experience of the individual mind, to the larger consciousness of the world, as it receded from the happier days of its childhood: — " Heaven lies about us in our infancy ! Shades of the prison-house begin to close Upon the growing Boy, But he beholds the light, and whence it flows, He sees it in his joy ; The Youth, who daily farther from the East Must travel, still is Nature's Priest, And by the vision splendid Is on his way attended. At length the Man perceives it die away, And fade into the light of common day." These undefined impressions again gave birth to a vague yearning or expectation, it cannot be called a belief, that man's lost inheritance would be one day restored. To such faltering utterances of a better hope, a recent writer has given the name of the " Unconscious Prophecies of Heathendom.' 5 See Trench's Jhdsean Lectures for 1846. The philosophic importance of Presentiment, as a fact 310 NOTES TO ATLANTIS. (be the explanation what it may) in man's spiritual na- ture, is more than hinted at in the remarkable words of Shak spear e: — " The prophetic soul Of the wide world dreaming on things to come." In this outlying region of thought, this dim border- ground, or " debateable land," between the realms of fable and reality, which has been so imperfectly surveyed, we come with wonder on this solitary and gigantic footprint left there so long ago. (5. )— P ART II. STANZA II. They called thee in the old time Isle of Groves, Lifting thy cloud of forests from the deep. The name Madeira, which means wood in Portuguese, was given to the island by the discoverers, from the forests with which it was covered to the summit. In order to clear the ground for their first settlements, the colonists set fire at various points to this jungle. According to early chroniclers, this fire burnt for six months; and this is the reason popularly assigned for so few singing birds being found in the island. (6.)— STANZA XI. For such a spot the war-worn Roman sighed, Where he might live forgotten and at rest. This is related of Sertorius in his life by Plutarch. The NOTES TO ATLANTIS. 311 story he has preserved is, that when the veteran soldier was at Boetica in Spain, he conversed with some mariners who had lately arrived from the Atlantic Islands. These, says the historian, are two in number, separated only by a narrow channel, and are at the distance of 400 leagues from the African coast. They are called the Fortunate Islands. Eain seldom falls there, — there are soft breezes and rich dews. The inhabitants live in enjoyment and ease. The air is always pleasant and salubrious, through the happy temperature of the seasons, and their insensible transition into each other. There is a refreshing moisture diffused by the mild south winds from the sea. Sertorius, hearing those wonderful accounts, conceived a strong de- sire to fix himself in these islands, where he might live in perfect tranquillity, at a distance from the evils of tyranny and war. Singularly enough, also, the much-enduring Ulysses, the man of many counsels, was fabled to have set forth in his old age in quest of new discoveries, and to have reached the ocean beyond the Pillars of Hercules, where all further trace of him was lost. One of the finest episodes in the Divina Commedia of Dante describes this last voyage of the old-world adventurer in a high strain of poetry. It may only have been one of the floating legends of the heroic age in Greece, — one of the mendacious audacities for which she was reproached, with curious inconsistency, by a nation which cheerfully received as authentic the apocryphal narratives of Livy; but there is something in the spirit of the wild romantic enterprise which will ever make it highly fascinating to a poetic imagination. In modern times, when one would have thought the last vestiges of mystery would have vanished, like ghosts at cock-crow, from these beaten highways of commercial 312 NOTES TO ATLANTIS. enterprise, it is remarkable with what obstinacy the inhabi- tants of the Canaries have clung to a belief in the existence of an imaginary island in their own neighbourhood. It is called the Island of St Brandan, a Scottish abbot of the sixth century, who is said to have discovered a mysterious island in the ocean, while searching for some enchanted region, of which the rumour had been borne to him, — an earthly paradise, but inhabited by infidels. It was visible at intervals, and so general was the conviction of its reality that it was laid down in maps. It is described as a " mountainous island, about ninety leagues in length, lying far to the westward. It was only seen in perfectly clear and serene weather. To some it seemed one hundred leagues distant, to others forty, to others only fifteen or eighteen. On attempting to reach it, however, it somehow or other eluded the search, and was nowhere to be found." So recently as 1721, an expedition sailed from Teneriffe in quest of it. But, though fortified by the presence of two friars, who were sent to propitiate the capricious saint, St Brandan made no sign, and his island remained invisible. In 1759, a Franciscan monk gave a minute description of it in a private letter, as it appeared to himself from the village of Alaxero, at six in the morning of the 3d of May. There was a similar tradition current in the time of Columbus respecting the Island of the Seven Cities. It has been conjectured that shadowy reflections of land and trees visible in certain states of the atmosphere, like the Fata Morgana of the Sicilian seas, may have given rise to these legendary tales. (See W. Irving' s Notes to Life of Columbus.) NOTES TO ATLANTIS. 313 (7.)— STANZA XV. Thy noblest children, who stood forth to brave Thy frenzy, from thy bosom thou hast driven. The allusion in this and the succeeding stanzas is to the persecutions of the native Protestants, which, within the last ten years, have given this island an ill-omened cele- brity. Only a passing reference to these unhappy events is here admissible. Let it suffice to say that the outrages to which a bigoted priesthood gave its sanction were worthy of the worst times of the Church of Rome, and that the courage and constancy with which they were en- dured read like passages from the annals of the early Church under the reign of a Decius or a Diocletian. THE END.